Two-Dimensional, Time-Dependent Plasma Structures of a Hall Effect Thruster
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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The Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion utilized by satellites to perform a wide variety of missions ranging from station keeping, orbital maneuvers, and even deep space propulsion. In order to accommodate the multitude of missions it also has a wide assortment of sizes and power configurations which can range from approximately an inch in diameter at 20 W to a couple of feet in diameter at 1.5 kW. Additionally, this electro-static device provides high specific impulse without the added weight penalty associated with conventional chemical thrusters. It supplies this high specific impulse by ionizing a gas such as xenon or krypton and then accelerating it through the electric field to speeds on the order of kilometers per second depending on the thruster size and power. Although the steady-state outputs such as thrust and specific impulse are measurable, other transient mechanisms within the main discharge are still not well understood.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
- Electric and Ion Propulsion