plasmapy.formulary.braginskii.ion_thermal_conductivity(T_e, n_e, T_i, n_i, ion, m_i=None, Z=None, B: ~astropy.units.quantity.Quantity = <Quantity 0. T>, model='Braginskii', field_orientation='parallel', mu=None, theta: float | None = None, coulomb_log_method='classical') Quantity[source]

Calculate the thermal conductivity for ions.

The ion thermal conductivity (\(κ\)) of a plasma is defined by

\[κ = \hat{κ} \frac{n_i k_B^2 T_i τ_i}{m_i}\]

where \(\hat{κ}\) is the non-dimensional ion thermal conductivity of the plasma, \(n_i\) is the ion number density of the plasma, \(k_B\) is the Boltzmann constant, \(T_i\) is the ion temperature of the plasma, \(τ_i\) is the fundamental ion collision period of the plasma, and \(m_i\) is the mass of an ion of the plasma.


This is the classical plasma ions’ ability to conduct energy and heat, defined similarly to other materials. The result is a conductivity in units of W / m / K, so if you assume you know where the heat is flowing (temperature gradient, cross-sectional area) you can calculate the energy transport in watts as conductivity × cross-sectional area × temperature gradient. In laboratory plasmas, typically the energy is flowing out of your high-temperature plasma to something else, like the walls of your device, and you are sad about this.

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