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We report the results of two-dimensional particle simulations (computer experiments) of finite plasma expansion between biased plane parallel electrodes. We show that the simulation produces results consistent with the existing one-dimensional analytical model. While the plasma expansion on the low-potential side is space-charge limited, on the opposite side it is due to ambipolar diffusion. The time-dependent simulated ion current to the electrode exhibits a modulation which has not been experimentally observed. This is identified to be a consequence of the oscillation in sheath front ion density which occurs because of the ion acoustic waves generated during the expansion. This modulation, which is greater at lower ion temperatures and nonuniform with respect to the electrode surface, can be used to estimate the transient number density in the plasma. Modifications to conventional experimental detection circuits which could help in the detection of these waves are presented. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.