Effect of resistivity on the Rayleigh-Taylor instability in an accelerated plasma

J. L. Castillo, M. A. Huerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We study the Rayleigh-Taylor instability in finite-conductivity accelerated plasma arcs of the type found in electromagnetic rail launchers. For a plasma of length l, acceleration a, and thermal speed vT we consider the case where vT2/al1, which is valid when the projectile mass is large compared to the plasma mass. The conductivity σ enters via a magnetic Reynolds number R=σμ(al3)1/2. The fourth-order mode equation is solved analytically using an asymptotic WKB expansion in 1/R. We find the first-order 1/R correction to the classical Rayleigh-Taylor dispersion relation for large wave number K but with KR2/l. The analytical results show good agreement with previous numerical calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3849-3866
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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