Richtmyer–Meshkov instability of a thermal interface in a two-fluid plasma

D. Bond, V. Wheatley, Ravi Samtaney, D. I. Pullin

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15 Scopus citations


We computationally investigate the Richtmyer–Meshkov instability of a density interface with a single-mode perturbation in a two-fluid, ion–electron plasma with no initial magnetic field. Self-generated magnetic fields arise subsequently. We study the case where the density jump across the initial interface is due to a thermal discontinuity, and select plasma parameters for which two-fluid plasma effects are expected to be significant in order to elucidate how they alter the instability. The instability is driven via a Riemann problem generated precursor electron shock that impacts the density interface ahead of the ion shock. The resultant charge separation and motion generates electromagnetic fields that cause the electron shock to degenerate and periodically accelerate the electron and ion interfaces, driving Rayleigh–Taylor instability. This generates small-scale structures and substantially increases interfacial growth over the hydrodynamic case.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-363
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Nov 3 2017

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