This introductory text is an expanded version of class notes and lectures that the author used to teach students of aerospace engineering and physics for several years. To make the subject more accessible, the book is divided into two parts. Firstly, the basic kinetic theory of neutral gases in equilibrium is introduced. The properties of ionized gases and plasmas (Debye length and plasma frequencies) are addressed in relation to their equilibrium states and the… (more)

This introductory text is an expanded version of class notes and lectures that the author used to teach students of aerospace engineering and physics for several years. To make the subject more accessible, the book is divided into two parts. Firstly, the basic kinetic theory of neutral gases in equilibrium is introduced. The properties of ionized gases and plasmas (Debye length and plasma frequencies) are addressed in relation to their equilibrium states and the collisional processes at the microscopic level, and the physical description of short- and long-range collisions, and the more relevant collisions ? elementary processes ? between electron ions and neutral atoms or molecules are discussed. The second part of the book explores the physical description of plasmas as a statistical system of interacting particles and presents advanced concepts of kinetic theory, such as non-equilibrium distribution functions and Boltzmann's collision operator. The fluid transport equations for plasmas of electron ions and neutral atoms, and the hydrodynamic models of interest in space science and plasma technology, and the plasma production in the laboratory in the context of the physics of electric breakdown, are also discussed. Finally, among the myriad of aerospace applications of plasma physics, the low-pressure microwave electron multifactor breakdown and plasma thrusters for space propulsion are presented in two separate chapters.

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