Commercial CFDRC software (http://www.cfdrc.com/∼cfdplasma) is used to self-consistently simulate the plasma of the positive column (PC) of a medium-pressure dc discharge in argon. The software allows simulations in an arbitrary 3D geometry by using Poisson's equation for the electric potential and fluid equations for the heavy components and by solving a nonlocal kinetic equation for electrons. It is shown that, in calculating the electron distribution function, the local approximation is almost always inapplicable not only at relatively low pressures (pR < 1 cm Torr), but also at relatively high pressures (pR < 10 cm Torr), i.e., under the real conditions of a diffuse PC usually met in practice. The use of the local approximation in solving the kinetic equation for electrons leads to significant errors in determining the main parameters of the PC. A paradoxical effect has been revealed: the peaks of the profiles of the excitation rates shift from the discharge axis toward the periphery as the pressure increases from low to medium values (1 cm Torr <pR < 10 cm Torr). It is shown that the effect is related to the nonlocal character of the electron distribution function.
Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)