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The Role of Finite Parallel Conductivity and Other Classical Processes on the Evolution of High-Altitude Plasmas.

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Technical rept.,

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Theoretical and numerical analyses of high-altitude nuclear plasmas and ionospheric nonnuclear plasmas often make the assumption that the parallel plasma conductivity is infinite. Actually, electron-ion and electron-neutral collisions assure that the classical plasma conductivity is finite, albeit generally much larger than the perpendicular plasma conductivity. This report is divided into three independent chapters, each of which explicitly demonstrates that the reality of finite parallel conductivity can substantially impact the gross dynamics of high-altitude plasma clouds as well as the structuring of the clouds via Rayleigh-Taylor or gradient-drift mechanisms. Explicit quantitative demonstrations are given for the three-dimensional localization of electric field patterns around plasma clouds and the fact that perpendicular electric fields do not necessarily map between conjugate zones along the geomagnetic field. The results clearly point to the need for reconsidering the assumption of infinite parallel conductivity in theoretical and numerical models of the high-altitude nuclear environment. Although primarily concerned with the role of finite parallel conductivity in the evolution of high-altitude plasmas, the report also illustrates ways that ion-neutral diffusive currents and ion-viscosity can affect the evolution of high-altitude nuclear plasmas. The reader who is concerned with the modeling of the high-altitude nuclear environment, is especially referred to the third chapter which includes algebraic algorithms for describing striations.

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  • Electricity and Magnetism

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