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Plasma Thruster Plume Simulation: Effect of Vacuum Chamber Environment

Plasma Thruster Plume Simulation: Effect of Vacuum Chamber Environment

Publication date: 29 June 2004

Authors: Passaro, A., et al.

Year: 2004

AIAA 2004-2357: Presented at the 35th AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference 28 June - 1 July 2004, Portland, Oregon

Present simulation techniques for plasma thrusters plume simulations usually implement a Particle In Cell / Monte Carlo approach to a plasma flow considered in a quasi-neutral state, with the possibility of a residual atmosphere (typical of a vacuum chamber test facility). Nonetheless it is difficult to compare directly results, even with measurements taken in very similar laboratory configurations, because it's not yet achieved the possibility to simulate at the same time realistic chamber geometry, pumping system performance and effect of the sputtering caused by the ion beam impinging the chamber walls. The present article will show the results of a series of PIC/DSMC simulations executed with CPR/Alta codes on HET plumes, considering a wide range of realistic laboratory configurations, and considering also the effect of different physical models; results will be also compared with experimental ones from literature and Alta testing facilities and flight data from the European SMART-1 mission.

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