Internal dynamics of a plasma propelled across a magnetic field
When a plasma is pushed across a magnetic field by some nonelectromagnetic force, ions and electrons get turned in opposite directions by the magnetic field. This creates an internal current as well as sheaths at the plasma surfaces and results in an electric field which allows the plasma to maintain some, or even most of its initial momentum in the form of E*B drift. An exact analysis of that process is presented for the internal region of the plasma. The energy provided by the initial push is used, in part, to create some gyrations inside the plasma. When the rest energy density of the plasma exceeds twice the magnetic energy density (or when the Alfven speed is less than c), there will be enough energy to spare for the plasma to continue across the magnetic field at half its initial momentum. Two cases are considered: an impulsive start and a gentle push such as provided by gravity. The amplitude of the resulting internal gyrations becomes small in the second case. The frequencies of the gyrations are those of extraordinary modes of very long spatial wavelength.
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