Magnetically Shielded Miniature Hall Thruster: Design Improvement and Performance Analysis

TitleMagnetically Shielded Miniature Hall Thruster: Design Improvement and Performance Analysis
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsConversano, Ryan W., Dan M. Goebel, Richard R. Hofer, Ioannis G. Mikellides, Ira Katz, and Richard E. Wirz
Conference Name34th International Electric Propulsion Conference
Date Published7/2015
Conference LocationKobe, Japan
Call NumberIEPC-2015-100 / ISTS-2015-b-100
AbstractMagnetic shielding has been shown to dramatically reduce discharge channel wall erosion of high powered Hall thrusters, thereby increasing their useful lifetimes. However, unique challenges exist for developing a low power magnetically shielded Hall thruster. A previously tested 4 cm magnetically shielded miniature Hall thruster demonstrated low performance of its magnetic circuit, resulting in an asymmetric field topology, low thrust, and low efficiency. A 6 cm magnetically shielded Hall thruster was developed to improve upon the 4 cm design. The 6 cm device, which generated a symmetric and fully shielded field topology, was tested at 30 operating conditions ranging from 160 W to nearly 750 W. Visual observation of the plasma and discharge channel during and after operation was used to assess the level of magnetic shielding that was achieved. Hall2De plasma simulations were also used to offer further evidence of magnetic shielding. Thrust stand measurements provided thrust, anode specific impulse, and anode efficiency data at each operating condition. Pole face erosion, which is believed to be associated with the 6 cm thruster’s non-optimized magnetic shielding field topology and strength, identify the near-term challenges to resolve before long lifetimes and high efficiencies can be achieved in low power Hall thrusters.

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