Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details
|Assessment length / details
|2 Assignment sheets
|2 Hours Written Exam
|2 Hours Written examination
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Discuss basic plasma properties and utilise the laws of physics and their mathematical formulation to obtain expressions for plasma properties such as temperature, Debye length and plasma frequency.
2. Justify and discuss how the behaviour of plasmas can be described as a collection of charged particles or described according to magnetohydrodynamics (MHD).
3. Derive mathematical expressions for the motion of a single charge particle in electric and magnetic fields, and for plasma MHD behaviour. Relate the results to the underlying physics.
4. Summarise and derive the main properties of waves in plasmas and the conditions for plasma instabilities such as Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities.
5. Discuss the formation of shocks in a collisionless plasmas and mathematically compose plasma shock jump conditions.
The course covers the essentials of plasma physics, including the nature of a plasma, motion of single charged particles in a magnetic field, magnetohydrodynamics, waves in plasma, and instabilities. The theory will be illustrated by examples from interplanetary space and the magnetospheres of planets.
- Occurrence of plasmas, temperature of a plasma, Debye shielding, plasma oscillations.
- Motion of a single charged particle in (a) a homogenous magnetic field; gyro-radius and frequency; (b) a converging magnetic field; magnetic mirror; (c) an inhomogenous magnetic field; drift motion (d) a magnetic field with a perpendicular electric field.
- Magnetohydrodynamics: Maxwell's equations applied to a plasma; diffusion time of magnetic field in a plasma; 'frozen-in' fields, magnetic Reynold's number.
- Waves in a plasma: electron plasma waves, ion-acoustic waves, MHD waves, shear Alfven waves, fast and slow magneto-sonic (compressional) waves.
- Waves in cold magnetized plasmas: Alfven waves, ion cyclotron waves, whistler waves, waves at very high frequencies.
- Collisionless shocks.
- Types of instability, two-stream instability (simple 'doppler-shift' treatment), Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities.
|Application of Number
|Questions set in examples sheets and formal examinations will include numerical problems.
|Written communication is developed via the assignments.
|Improving own Learning and Performance
|Assignments with feedback are used in order that students might reflect on their progress during the module.
|Students will be required to research topics within the module via the internet.
|Personal Development and Career planning
|The module will highlight the latest developments in this field and hence will assist with career development.
|Problem solving is a key skill in physics and will be tested via the assignments and formal examination at the end of the module.
|Some of the assignment sheet examples will require the student to research in the library and over the internet.
This module is at CQFW Level 6