Accession Number:

ADA456673

Title:

Investigations of an Environmentally Induced Long Duration Hall Thruster Start Transient (PREPRINT)

Descriptive Note:

Journal Article

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIRECTORATE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2006-02-06

Pagination or Media Count:

20.0

Abstract:

A long duration Hall thruster start transient is produced by exposure of the thruster to ambient laboratory atmosphere. This behavior was first observed during operation of a cluster of four 200 W BHT-200 Hall effect thrusters where large anode discharge fluctuations, visible as increased anode current and a diffuse plume structure, occurred in an apparently random manner. During operation of a single thruster, the start transient appears as a quickly rising and later smoothly decaying elevated anode current with a diffuse plume that persists for less than 500 seconds. The start transient is characterized by severe 18 kHz oscillations that dominate the anode discharge. This contrasts sharply with typical steady state behavior of a strong DC component overlaid with a low amplitude 25 kHz component. The source of the plasma oscillations has been isolated to the discharge chamber. The oscillations of the anode current appear to be due to the evolution of water previously hydrated onto the surface layer of the boron nitride acceleration channel insulator during exposure of the Hall effect thruster to ambient atmosphere. Once all available water has been driven from the insulator surface by plasma heating, the discharge fluctuations do not reappear.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric and Ion Propulsion
  • Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE