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Unformatted text preview: but where it is "shielded" by other charges in a plasma we might expect there to be an exponential fall off with a scale size given by the Debye length: Taking a volume within that Debye length: This contains charge: And g/3C3717c.gif"> And we have a potential energy here (at of: where Q is the charge contained in the volume, given above, hence the potential energy is: We can set take it that if this potential energy equals the kinetic energy of a particle passing this point that anything outside this distance can "escape" the central charge. Thus the point at which the potential energy balances the kinetic energy is a sort of "sphere of influence" of the central charge. The Kinetic energy of a particle is given by 3kT/2, so setting this equal to the p.e. above and rearranging, we have: This is the same as the "proper" equation for the Debye Length given above apart from a numerical factor....
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 Fall '10
 EmilyHoward
 Astronomy, Energy, Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy, Debye, debye length

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