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Effect of a magnetic field on the plasma plume from Hall thrusters

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An axial profile of the quasineutral plasma jet exhaust from a Hall thruster is studied. The plasma jet expansion is modeled using the sourceless steady-state hydrodynamic equations. It is considered that the plasma jet has a conical shape with a half angle of about 40°. The magnetic field surrounding the Hall thruster exit is included in the calculation. It is found that a magnetic field may significantly affect the axial profile of the plasma potential. For instance, in the case of zero magnetic field, the plasma potential is about -10 V at 1 m from the thruster exit, while in the case of a 0.1 T magnetic field, the plasma has a potential of about +25 V. Results predicted by the model are found to be in good agreement with experimental data for three different Hall thruster designs. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:86 ,  Issue: 9 )