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SHOCK WAVES IN COLLISION-FREE PLASMAS
AVCO EVERETT RESEARCH LAB EVERETT MASS
Investigation of the structure of a shock wave provides an excellent opportunity for studying the dissipation processes in collision-free plasmas. The thickness of collision-free shock waves was previously obtained from measurements of the light emitted by the plasma in a magnetic annular shock tube. The magnitude of the shock thickness, and its Mach number and density dependence are in agreement with a theoretical estimate based on the concept that the required dissipation in the shock is produced by nonlinear interactions between magnetohydrodynamic waves. Further confirmation of these results is discussed. Author