Instability of ionization equilibrium of a weakly ionized three-component plasma

M. Gitterman, V. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The general stability conditions of a three-component plasma lead, in addition to the usual critical phenomena, to the appearance of a chemical instability, connected with the multiple solution of the law of mass action. As a result of a first-order transition the system will separate into two phases with different degrees of ionization. As the fraction of highly ionized phase increases, the conductivity of the system becomes metallic. Such a phenomenon can explain the metal-dielectric transition and its connection with such critical phenomena in different systems as weak electrolytes, molten salts, metal-ammonia solutions, and solid-state plasmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1245
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1979


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