Expansion of a radially symmetric blast shell into a uniformly magnetized plasma

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    The expansion of a thermal pressure-driven radial blast shell into a dilute ambient plasma is examined with two-dimensional PIC simulations. The purpose is to determine if laminar shocks form in a collisionless plasma which resemble their magnetohydrodynamic counterparts. The ambient plasma is composed of electrons with the temperature of 2 keV and cool fully ionized nitrogen ions. It is permeated by a spatially uniform magnetic field. A forward shock forms between the shocked ambient medium and the pristine ambient medium, which changes from an ion acoustic one through a slow magnetosonic one to a fast magnetosonic shock with increasing shock propagation angles relative to the magnetic field. The slow magnetosonic shock that propagates obliquely to the magnetic field changes into a tangential discontinuity for a perpendicular propagation direction, which is in line with the magnetohydrodynamic model. The expulsion of the magnetic field by the expanding blast shell triggers an electron-cyclotron drift instability.

    DOI

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number052108
    JournalPhysics of Plasmas
    Journal publication date01 May 2018
    Issue number5
    Volume25
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 01 May 2018

    ID: 153212055