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Modeling a Hall Thruster from Anode to Plume Far Field

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Department of Aerospace Engineering University of Michigan Ann Arbor United States

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Hall thrusters represent an efficient form of electric propulsion that is being implemented on USAF satellites for station-keeping tasks. Numerical simulation of the plasma flow inside Hall thrusters is playing an increasingly significant role in the development of the thrusters to better understand propulsion and lifetime performance. Numerical simulation of the plumes of Hall thrusters is required to accurately assess spacecraft integration issues. The work being pursued here seeks to develop for the first time an end-to-end Hall thruster simulation capability that begins with propellant injection at the thruster anode, and ends in the plume far field. The development of a comprehensive simulation capability is critical for a number of reasons. The main motivation stems from the need to directly couple simulation of the plasma discharge processes inside the thruster and the transport of the plasma to the plume far field. The simulation strategy will employ two existing codes, one for the Hall thruster device and one for the plume. The coupling will take place in the plume near field region that has not previously been modeled in detail. The simulation process will be assessed through application to Hall thrusters for which measured data exist.

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Technical Report,01 Jan 2005,31 Dec 2008



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Approved For Public Release;

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