טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentHamo Omri
SubjectNumerical Investigation of the Narrow Channel Hall Thruster
Physical Processes using the Particle-in-cell
Method
DepartmentDepartment of Aerospace Engineering
Supervisor Assistant Professor Igal Kronhaus


Abstract

In the past decade growing numbers of Nano-satellites are being used in space, with an-ever increasing mission demands. Nevertheless, due to severe limitations over on-board power, there is currently a gap in propulsion solutions for these miniaturized spacecraft. To address these issues, a very low power Hall Effect thruster known as the Narrow Channel Hall Thruster (NCHT) was recently developed and demonstrated at the Aerospace Plasma Laboratory (APL), Technion. Due to the small dimensions of the NCHT channel (1 mm wide and 2 mm in length) experimental measurements of the thruster discharge are very challenging. In this work we study the thruster channel discharge using a particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation XOOPIC-APL. The original code was modified to provide 2D spatial distributions of the plasma parameters inside the thruster channel, as well as parallel computing capabilities for enhanced simulation performance. The improved code was validated and used for simulating the NCHT channel discharge. Being fully kinetic, the simulation enabled to obtain, for the first time, the full description of the plasma in the NCHT channel, including spatial distributions of the plasma parameters in 2D, and ion energy distributions. The NCHT global results (thrust and specific impulse) predicated by the simulation are in good agreement to previously measured experimental results.