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A one-dimension model for positive-column plasma is analyzed. In the framework of this model, a complete, self-consistent set of equations for the plasma column is proposed and justified. Basic prerequisites for the model and the equations used in it are discussed at length to clarify the mathematics and physics that underlie the proposed generalized description of plasma states. A study of the equations has unveiled the existence of two structurally stable types of steady states and three integrals of motion in the plasma system. The first type of states corresponds to spatially homogeneous plasma, and the second type, to the self-forming plasma structure with striations. Analysis of spatio-temporal plasma structures (spatially homogeneous and stratified stationary plasma states) and their attendant phenomena is given in detail. It is shown that the equations offer a more penetrating insight into the physical states and properties of positive-column plasma in dc-driven gas discharges, and into the various phenomena proceeding in the discharge system. Such a behavior is intimately related to the influence which the electric field has on the rate of ionization reactions. The theoretical results are compared to experimental data and can be used for to place the great body of experimental data in their proper framework. The modern fluid bifurcation model proposed to describe the properties of non-isothermic positive-column plasma in dc-driven low-pressure noble-gas discharges proved to be rather realistic, capable of adequately reproducing the basic properties of real field-plasma systems.


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