The minimal density model for negative streamer ionization fronts is investigated. An earlier moving boundary approximation for this model consisted of a “kinetic undercooling” type boundary condition in a Laplacian growth problem of Hele-Shaw type. Here we derive a curvature correction to the moving boundary approximation that resembles surface tension. The calculation is based on solvability analysis with unconventional features, namely, there are three relevant zero modes of the adjoint operator, one of them diverging; furthermore, the inner-outer matching ahead of the front must be performed on a line rather than on an extended region; and the whole calculation can be performed analytically. The analysis reveals a relation between the fields ahead and behind a slowly evolving curved front, the curvature and the generated conductivity. This relation forces us to give up the ideal conductivity approximation, and we suggest to replace it by a charge neutrality approximation. This implies that the electric potential in the streamer interior is no longer constant but solves a Laplace equation; this leads to a Muskat-type problem.

Additional Metadata
THEME Energy (theme 4)
Publisher American Physical Society
Journal Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Project Moving ionization boundaries and charge transport in early stages of sparks lightning
Brau, F, Davidovitch, B, & Ebert, U. M. (2008). Moving boundary approximation for curved streamer ionization fronts: solvability analysis. Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 78.