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Magnetohydrodynamic shock production and current sheet diffusion


Hoffman, Alan Lowell (1967) Magnetohydrodynamic shock production and current sheet diffusion. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/4WVH-W290.


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Current sheets in inverse pinch MHD shock tubes exhibit the strange property of forming shocks in the very rear of the sheet when accelerating heavy gases. When accelerating light gases, shocks are formed further to the front in the sheet, but in no case do the shocks separate from the driving current sheet. This "piston dragging shock" effect is explained on the basis of a single-fluid model with variable conductivity. Shocks are shown to always form within current sheets which move at supersonic speeds with respect to the driven gas. The relevant parameters for determining the shock position are the Mach number and the magnetic Reynolds number. Large magnetic Reynolds numbers and small Mach numbers enhance forward shock formation. These conditions are obtained in light gases with high speeds of sound. Similarity methods are developed to estimate gas conductivities, electron temperatures, and degrees of ionization for the experiments which are conducted. In hydrogen typical electron temperatures of 4 ev are produced by the ohmic heating, but twice this value is shown necessary to achieve separation at the current sheet speeds of 2-3 [...] used. Higher current sheet speeds produce shocks in the rear of the current sheet where separation can never occur. The correct method of procedure and the relevant design parameters to achieve separation are given. The success of single-fluid methods in explaining plasma phenomena is especially notable, and these methods can be extended to other similar problems. Based on these methods, multiple-fluid and microscopic effects are easily detectable and can be accounted for.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Liepmann, Hans Wolfgang
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:28 April 1967
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-12292005-135853
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5166
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:29 Dec 2005
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 03:56

Thesis Files

PDF (Hoffman_al_1967.pdf) - Final Version
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