Analytical and numerical study of a hall effect thruster with a particle-in-cell model
Tutor / director / evaluatorLizandra Dalmases, José Oriol
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
Space propulsion, and more specifically electric propulsion, has been growing widely strong for the last 20 years thanks to the increasingly frequent technological advances in this field. That’s why there are plenty of studies arising seeking for new ways of computing simulations of propulsion systems. This is the case of the Particle-in-Cell method. This method is nowhere near new, for it started being used in the 1950s, but the computational advances in the recent years have opened new doors for this numerical method that makes it one of the best options. So, this thesis has the main purpose of proving that Particle-in-Cell simulations of a onedimensional Hall-effect thruster channel give similar results to experimental data obtained via analytical models. For it, first an introduction to different electric propulsion systems and plasma physics will be done in order to have the basis of Hall thrusters functioning so the analysis can be performed. Once the basis are settled, the analytical model will be performed comparing the results with those obtained by professor E. Ahedo and then, using the results obtained in the analytical model as reference, the numerical model using the PIC method will be computed. Finally, by discussing and comparing the two models, we will see that the results obtained in both models resemble a lot those obtained by professor E. Ahedo and the experimental data from real life thrusters, with the only difference that some discrepancies appear. In the case of the analytical model, values in electrons temperature will tend to have a sudden decrease due to not taking into account wall losses and plume divergence, while in the PIC numerical model a little oscillation appears at the beginning due to the finite difference solver used. Although the appearance of such discrepancies, the results obtained are exactly the ones that were expected, hence proving the viability of the PIC model for plasma computation.
Development of a preliminary study of Hall Effect thruster for a spacecraft.