plasmapy.formulary.electron_thermal_conductivity(T_e, n_e, T_i, n_i, ion, m_i=None, Z=None, B: Unit("T") = <Quantity 0. T>, model='Braginskii', field_orientation='parallel', mu=None, theta=None, coulomb_log_method='classical') -> Unit("W / (K m)")

Calculate the thermal conductivity for electrons.


This is quite similar to the ion thermal conductivity, except that it’s for the plasma electrons. In a typical unmagnetized plasma, the electron thermal conductivity is much higher than the ions and will dominate, due to the electrons’ low mass and fast speeds.

In a strongly magnetized plasma, following the classical transport analysis, you calculate that the perpendicular-field thermal conductivity becomes greatly reduced for the ions and electrons, with the electrons actually being restrained even more than the ions due to their low mass and small gyroradius. In reality, the electrons and ions are pulling on each other strongly due to their opposing charges, so you have the situation of ambipolar diffusion.

This situation has been likened to an energetic little child (the electrons) not wanting to be pulled away from the playground (the magnetic field) by the parents (the ions).

The ultimate rate must typically be in between the individual rates for electrons and ions, so at least you can get some bounds from this type of analysis.


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