This paper aims to study the plasma discharge process of a 5 kW hall thruster developed by Lanzhou Institute of Physics and to provide the knowledge for implementing an improved thruster design. A 2D Particle-In-Cell (PIC) model is built, in which the electron-electron and electron-ion Coulomb collisions are included, in addition to the elastic, excitation, and ionization collisions between electrons and neutral atoms, and the elastic and charge-collisions between ions and neutral atoms. Different Bohm diffusion coefficients are applied in different regions to simulate the Bohm diffusion. The deviation between the simulated and experimental results of the thruster performance is within 15%, validating the accuracy of the model indirectly. The discharge process including the transient and steady-state oscillations is well reproduced. The character of the plasma during different phase of the discharge process including the plasma density and ionization rate is simulated and analyzed. Finally, the probable factor causing the anode erosion is determined.
"Particle-in-Cell Simulation of a 5 kW
Hall Thruster," Progress In Electromagnetics Research M,
Vol. 69, 51-60, 2018. doi:10.2528/PIERM18041706
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