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Design of a Laboratory Hall Thruster with Magnetically Shielded Channel Walls, Phase III: Comparison of Theory with ExperimentA proof-of-principle effort to demonstrate a technique by which erosion of the acceleration channel in Hall thrusters of the magnetic-layer type can be eliminated has been completed. The first principles of the technique, now known as "magnetic shielding," were derived based on the findings of numerical simulations in 2-D axisymmetric geometry. The simulations, in turn, guided the modification of an existing 6-kW laboratory Hall thruster. This magnetically shielded (MS) thruster was then built and tested. Because neither theory nor experiment alone can validate fully the first principles of the technique, the objective of the 2-yr effort was twofold: (1) to demonstrate in the laboratory that the erosion rates can be reduced by >order of magnitude, and (2) to demonstrate that the near-wall plasma properties can be altered according to the theoretical predictions. This paper concludes the demonstration of magnetic shielding by reporting on a wide range of comparisons between results from numerical simulations and laboratory diagnostics. Collectively, we find that the comparisons validate the theory. Near the walls of the MS thruster, theory and experiment agree: (1) the plasma potential has been sustained at values near the discharge voltage, and (2) the electron temperature has been lowered by at least 2.5-3 times compared to the unshielded (US) thruster. Also, based on carbon deposition measurements, the erosion rates at the inner and outer walls of the MS thruster are found to be lower by at least 2300 and 1875 times, respectively. Erosion was so low along these walls that the rates were below the resolution of the profilometer. Using a sputtering yield model with an energy threshold of 25 V, the simulations predict a reduction of ~600 at the MS inner wall. At the outer wall ion energies are computed to be below 25 V, for which case we set the erosion to zero in the simulations. 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.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Mikellides, Ioannis G. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Katz, Ira (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Hofer, Richard R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Goebel, Dan M. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 26, 2015
Publication Date
July 29, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Numerical Analysis
Meeting Information
AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference(Atlanta, GA)
Distribution Limits
plasma simulations