Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thickness of 'shell' in momentum space in a plasma?

  1. Jan 2, 2016 #1
    Let's say we have a plasma of protons or deuterons and electrons; how thick is the 'shell' that the nuclei form in momentum space compared to the 'shell' formed by D2 or H2 in a gas, at room temperature? Will the distribution of momentum be more spread out or more compact, so to speak, in a plasma compared to a gas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    To have a hydrogen plasma at room temperature in thermodynamic equilibrium it has to be extremely thin.
    The distribution of kinetic energies will be the same, so the nuclei/atoms will have very similar momenta. The electrons have a much lower momentum for the same energy as they are lighter.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook