Self-consistent electron energy distribution functions (edf's) in non-equilibrium nitrogen have been calculated by solving the Boltzmann equation coupled to a system of vibrational master equations including the dissociation process. The results show a temporal evolution of the electron energy distribution due to the corresponding evolution of the vibrational distribution and of the concentration of atoms arising from the dissociation process. The superelastic vibrational collisions are the main cause of this evolution. The calculated edf's are then used to obtain quantities such as drift velocity, average and characteristic energy and rate coefficients for ionization, vibrational and electronic excitation processes. All these quantities exhibit a similar temporal evolution following the temporal evolution of the edf. In particular the rate coefficients for ionization and electronic excitation, which depend on the high energy portion, present variations of several orders of magnitude. © 1981.
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