Modelling general-relativistic plasmas with collisionless moments and dissipative two-fluid magnetohydrodynamics

Elias R. Most, Jorge Noronha, Alexander A. Philippov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relativistic plasmas are central to the study of black hole accretion, jet physics, neutron star mergers, and compact object magnetospheres. Despite the need to accurately capture the dynamics of these plasmas and the implications for relativistic transients, their fluid modelling is typically done using a number of (overly) simplifying assumptions, which do not hold in general. This is especially true when the mean free path in the plasma is large compared to the system size, and kinetic effects start to become important. Going beyond common approaches used in the literature, we describe a fully relativistic covariant 14-moment based two-fluid system appropriate for the study of electron-ion or electron-positron plasmas. This generalized Israel-Stewart-like system of equations of motion is obtained directly from the relativistic Boltzmann-Vlasov equation. This new formulation can account for non-ideal effects, such as anisotropic pressures and heat fluxes, not present in previous formulations of two-fluid magnetohydrodynamics. We show that a relativistic two-fluid plasma can be recast as a single fluid coupled to electromagnetic fields with (potentially large) out-of-equilibrium corrections. We keep all electron degrees of freedom, which provide self-consistent evolution equations for electron temperature and momentum. The out-of-equilibrium corrections take the form of a collisional 14-moment closure previously described in the context of viscous single fluids. The equations outlined in this paper are able to capture the full two-fluid character of collisionless plasmas found in black hole accretion and flaring processes around compact objects, as well Braginskii-like two-fluid magnetohydrodynamics applicable to weakly collisional plasmas inside accretion discs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4989-5003
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • MHD
  • Methods: analytical
  • Plasmas
  • Relativistic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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