• Nikola Crnjanski
  • December 7, 1 PM
  • 2866 East Hall

Electric propulsion (EP) systems convert electric power and propellant into thrust. The numerical simulation of plasma plume structures in EP devices such as Hall thrusters provides a wide access to the investigation of the underlying and complex physics involved in these systems. Since the success of Deep Space I in 1998, EP devices have undergone an ever-expanding role in attitude control, orbit raising and deep-space missions. Accurately simulating these plumes plays an important role in future space missions by investigating the effects of sputtering.

Implementing EP systems onto spacecraft raise integration concerns that can be a major issue for mission planners. EP plasma plumes are composed of heavy particles (ions and atoms) and electrons; sputtering from these plumes can lodge highly-energized ions onto the spacecraft. These particles can damage scientific payloads and other sensitive instruments, jeopardizing the entire mission.

In this talk I will take you on a tour through computationally modeling Hall thruster plasma plumes. The tour includes: an introduction to EP with its varieties and a brief history, as well as the methodology behind the modeling. As usual, no previous background is required with respect to the subject matter at hand.