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Title: Magnetic shielding of a laboratory Hall thruster. I. Theory and validation

We demonstrate a technique by which erosion of the acceleration channel in Hall thrusters can be reduced by at least a few orders of magnitude. The first principles of the technique, now known as “magnetic shielding,” have been derived based on the findings of 2-D numerical simulations. The simulations, in turn, guided the modification of an existing 6-kW laboratory Hall thruster to test the theory and are the main subject of this Part I article. Part II expands on the results of the experiments. Near the walls of the magnetically shielded (MS) thruster theory and experiment agree that (1) the plasma potential has been sustained at values near the discharge voltage, and (2) the electron temperature has been lowered compared to the unshielded thruster. Erosion rates deduced directly from the wall probes show reductions of at least ∼3 orders of magnitude at the MS inner wall when an ion energy threshold of 30.5 V is used in the sputtering yield model of the channel material. At the outer wall the probes reveal that the ion energy was below the assumed threshold. Using a threshold of 25 V, the simulations predict a minimum reduction of ∼600 at the MS inner wall. At themore » MS outer wall ion energies are found to be below 25 V. When a 50-V threshold is used the computed ion energies are below the threshold at both sides of the channel. Uncertainties, sensitivities, and differences between theory and experiment are also discussed. The elimination of wall erosion in Hall thrusters solves a problem that has remained unsettled for more than five decades.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22275589
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ACCELERATION; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRIC DISCHARGES; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; EROSION; ION THRUSTERS; MAGNETIC SHIELDING; MULTICHARGED IONS; PLASMA POTENTIAL; PROPULSION SYSTEMS