Computer Simulation of a Plasma Accelerator
STANFORD UNIV CA INST FOR PLASMA RESEARCH
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A computer is used to simulate a collisionless plasma in an axisymmetric high specific impulse plasma accelerator with a constant applied electric field and with no applied magnetic field. The collisionless plasma model is shown to be applicable to plasma accelerators that operate with specific impulses in excess of 104 seconds and with particle number densities of the order of 1015 particlescm3 or less. The computer simulation is accomplished by representing the many ions and electrons in the plasma by several thousand representative particles. These several thousand particles are assumed to constitute a good statistical sample of the actual ions and electrons, and the normalized distribution function of the plasma is approximated by the normalized distribution function of the representative particles. A computer program has been developed to display simultaneously on a cathode ray tube the electric potential, the magnetic field, and the motion of the representative particles as they move through the accelerator under the influence of the fields.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
- Electric and Ion Propulsion