Plasma property and performance prediction for mercury ion thrustersThe discharge chambers of mercury ion thrusters are modelled so the principal effects and processes which govern discharge plasma properties and thruster performance are described. The conservation relations for mass, charge and energy when applied to the Maxwellian electron population in the ion production region yield equations which may be made one-dimensional by the proper choice of coordinates. Solutions to these equations with the appropriate boundary conditions give electron density and temperature profiles which agree reasonably well with measurements. It is then possible to estimate plasma properties from thruster design data and those operating parameters which are directly controllable. By varying the operating parameter inputs to the computer code written to solve these equations, perfromance curves are obtained which agree quite well with measurements.
Longhurst, G. R. (Colorado State Univ. Fort Collins, CO, United States)
Wilbur, P. J. (Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colo., United States)
August 10, 2013
October 1, 1979
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
AIAA PAPER 79-2054
Meeting: International Electric Propulsion Conference