Some physical aspects of the nonequilibrium, supersonic, corner expansion flow of ionized gases

O. Igra, M. Barcessat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The flow fields of supersonic, nonequilibrium corner expansion flows of ionized gases have been solved numerically, for three different gases, using the method of characteristics. Special attention has been given to the effect that the gas mass and its ionization potential have upon the solution obtained. It was found that the ratio between the atomic mass of the element considered and its ionization potential ma1, plays an important role in establishing thermal equilibrium. Gases having a small value of m a1, will approach thermal equilibrium at a faster rate than those having a larger value of ma1. On the other hand, the approach to chemical equilibrium is controlled by the recombination rate which is strongly temperature dependent. Therefore, fast reduction in temperature, in the expansion field, promotes a rapid approach to chemical equilibrium. The effect of the electron-atom collision cross section σea, on the numerical results obtained, is also studied. It is shown that accurate knowledge of σea is required to evaluate the plasma electronic properties (Te and α), but even a rough estimate of σea is sufficient for the evaluation of the gross properties of the plasma (p, ρ, and T).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1877-1883
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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