Numerical study of linear and nonlinear problems using two-fluid plasma model in one dimension

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The ideal two-fluid plasma model is a more generalized plasma model compared to the ideal MHD and it couples the ion and electron Euler equations via Maxwell's equations. Two-fluid plasma model is essential when the ion and electron fluids are at different temperatures. In this work, a fundamental investigation on the effect of non-dimensional light speed, ion-to-electron mass ratio and plasma beta on the plasma dynamics in the Brio-Wu shock tube Riemann problem is presented. A one dimensional finite volume code is developed based on the macroscopic governing equations, with second order accuracy in space and time. The source terms are treated implicitly and the homogeneous flux terms are treated explicitly. The credibility of the numerical results is assessed by performing several linear and nonlinear tests. Realistic light speed results in increasing the stiffness of the equations and severe time step restriction, which poses a challenge to the numerical simulations. In the context of the Brio-Wu shock tube problem, it is observed that the light speed is not important with respect to the hydrodynamics. However, light speed does affect the magnitude of the self generated electric field. Mass ratio affects the electron plasma dynamics. The speed of the fast moving electron plasma waves changes with the mass ratio. The results obtained using a mass ratio of 500 are in close agreement with that of realistic mass ratio of 1836. Increasing plasma beta suppresses the amplitude of the fast moving electron plasma waves.
Date of AwardApr 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorRavi Samtaney (Supervisor)


  • two-fluid plasma
  • MHD
  • Finite Volume Method

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