Modeling collisional processes in plasmas using discontinuous numerical methods
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Fluid-based plasma models are typically applied to parameter regimes where a local thermal equilibrium is assumed. The applicability of this regime is valid for many plasmas, however, it is limited to plasma dynamics dominated by collisional effects. This study attempts to extend the validity of the collisional fluid regime using an anisotropic 13-moment fluid model derived from the Pearson type-IV probability distribution. The model explicitly evolves the heat flux hyperbolically alongside the density, momentum, and energy in order to capture dynamics usually restricted to costly kinetic models. Each particle species is modeled individually and collectively coupled through electromagnetic and collision operators. To remove electromagnetic divergence errors inherent to numerical representations of Maxwell’s equations, both hyperbolic and parabolic cleaning methods are presented. The plasma models are implemented using high-order finite volume and discontinuous Galerkin numerical methods designed for unstructured meshes. The unstructured code framework, numerical methods, and plasma models were developed in the University of Washington’s WARPXM code for use on heterogeneous accelerated clusters.