Computational Modeling of Stationary Plasma Thrusters

Justin Koo, University of Michigan

Photo of Justin Koo

It is clear that the electron physics model used in existing computational Hall thruster models has an enormous impact on the results produced by such simulations [1]. Consequently, the electron energy transport portion of a 2-D hybrid PIC/MCC Hall thruster code was upgraded through the use of a more comprehensive physical model for the electron energy distribution. The first step was to enhance the existing single temperature fluid description to account for an additional population of secondary emission electrons. In addition to improvements to the electron energy model, other changes to the model included the addition of doubly charged xenon ions and an electron thermal pressure term in the potential calculation. Results were obtained for the UM/AFRL P5 type magnetic field configuration with relevant comparisons to experimental data. The direction of future work should eventually lead to a full non-local electron energy description.

[1] Koo, J. W., Boyd, I. D., “Computational Model of an SPT-100 Thruster,” IEPC 03-0071, March, 2003.

Abstract Author(s): Justin W. Koo and Iain D. Boyd<br />Department of Aerospace Engineering<br />University of Michigan<br />Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109