Volume 654, October 2021
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||19 October 2021|
Transport coefficients enhanced by suprathermal particles in nonequilibrium heliospheric plasmas
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Lehrstuhl IV: Plasma-Astroteilchenphysik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
2 Centre for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, Department of Mathematics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
3 Research Department, Plasmas with Complex Interactions, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
4 Institute of Physics, University of Maria Curie-Skłodowska, Pl. M. Curie-Skłodowska 5, 20-031 Lublin, Poland
Accepted: 2 August 2021
Context. In heliospheric plasmas, such as the solar wind and planetary magnetospheres, the transport of energy and particles is governed by various fluxes (e.g., heat flux, particle flux, current flow) triggered by different forces, electromagnetic fields, and gradients in density or temperature. In the outer corona and at relatively low heliocentric distances in the solar wind (i.e., < 1 AU), particle-particle collisions play an important role in the transport of energy, momentum, and matter, described within classical transport theory by the transport coefficients, which relate the fluxes to their sources.
Aims. The aim of the present paper is to improve the evaluation of the main transport coefficients in such nonequilibrium plasmas, on the basis of an implicit realistic characterization of their particle velocity distributions, in accord with the in situ observations. Of particular interest is the presence of suprathermal populations and their influence on these transport coefficients.
Methods. Using the Boltzmann transport equation and macroscopic laws for the energy and particle fluxes, we derived transport coefficients, namely, electric conductivity, thermoelectric coefficient, thermal conductivity, diffusion, and mobility coefficients. These are conditioned by the electrons, which are empirically well described by the Kappa distribution, with a nearly Maxwellian (quasi-thermal) core and power-law tails enhanced by the suprathermal population. Here we have adopted the original Kappa approach that has the ability to outline and quantify the contribution of suprathermal populations.
Results. Without exception, the transport coefficients are found to be systematically and markedly enhanced in the presence of suprathermal electrons (i.e., for finite values of the κ parameter), due to the additional kinetic energy with which these populations contribute to the dynamics of space plasma systems. The present results also show how important an adequate Kappa modeling of suprathermal populations is, which is in contrast to other modified interpretations that underestimate the effects of these populations.
Key words: solar wind / plasmas / Sun: heliosphere
© ESO 2021
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