Plasma Instabilities and Transport in the MPD Thruster
Final technical rept. 1 Feb 91-1 Feb 93,
PRINCETON UNIV NJ DEPT OF MECHANICAL AND AEROSPACE ENGINEERING
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This study deals with the development and testing of anomalous turbulent transport coefficient models that include the effects of plasma turbulence and that can be used in plasma fluid codes for more realistic numerical simulations. The anomalous transport models were derived using a kinetic description of microinstabilities in the MPD thruster plasma. Nonlinear plasma theory was used under the valid approximation of weak turbulence and the resulting transport models were studied in detail. A strong dependence of anomalous transport on the electron Hall parameter was found. The models were then reduced to a set of compact polynomials ideally suited for inclusion in fluid codes. The usefulness and importance of these models were demonstrated by including them in an advanced plasma fluid code and carrying numerical simulations of realistic MPD thruster flows. The results show the impact of turbulence on various aspects of dissipation in the thruster as well as on the overall propulsive efficiency. Fluid codes that include these models are more accurate engineering tools for the design and study of high efficiency plasma thrusters.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
- Unmanned Spacecraft
- Manned Spacecraft