A Reduced-order NLTE Kinetic Model for Radiating Plasmas of Outer Envelopes of Stellar Atmospheres

Alessandro Munafò, Nagi N. Mansour, Marco Panesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present work proposes a self-consistent reduced-order NLTE kinetic model for radiating plasmas found in the outer layers of stellar atmospheres. A detailed collisional-radiative kinetic mechanism is constructed by leveraging the most up-to-date set of ab initio and experimental data available in the literature. This constitutes the starting point for the derivation of a reduced-order model, obtained by lumping the bound energy states into groups. In order to determine the needed thermo-physical group properties, uniform and Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distributions are used to reconstruct the energy population of each group. Finally, the reduced set of governing equations for the material gas and the radiation field is obtained based on the moment method. Applications consider the steady flow across a shock wave in partially ionized hydrogen. The results clearly demonstrate that adopting a Maxwell-Boltzmann grouping allows, on the one hand, for a substantial reduction of the number of unknowns and, on the other, to maintain accuracy for both gas and radiation quantities. Also, it is observed that, when neglecting line radiation, the use of two groups already leads to a very accurate resolution of the photo-ionization precursor, internal relaxation, and radiative cooling regions. The inclusion of line radiation requires adopting just one additional group to account for optically thin losses in the α, β, and γ lines of the Balmer and Paschen series. This trend has been observed for a wide range of shock wave velocities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • atomic processes
  • plasmas
  • radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • radiative transfer
  • shock waves
  • stars: atmospheres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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