Experimental and computational studies of electric thruster plasma radiation emission
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Manual Martínez-Sánchez and Oleg Batishchev.
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Electric thrusters are being developed for in-space propulsion needs of spacecraft as their higher specific impulse enables a significant reduction in the required propellant mass and allows longer duration missions. Over the last few decades many different electric propulsion concepts have been proposed and studied. In studying the electric thrusters, in order to improve the thruster performance as well as to understand the underlying physics of thruster's operation, various diagnostics methods were employed. As one unique method, emission spectroscopy provides a non-invasive, fast and economical diagnostic allowing also the ability to access hard to reach locations. In this study, emission spectroscopy is employed as a means to determine the trends in thruster operations as well as diagnosing the plasma parameters. This study presents the spectral measurement results of three different electric thrusters and plasma sources. First, the BHT-200 Hall thruster emission spectra measurements are presented for varying discharge voltage and for various regions of observation.(cont.) Second, spectral measurements of a TAL type laboratory mini-Hall thruster, MHT-9, were presented. Third, radiation emission measurements of an experimental Helicon plasma source being studied to assess the possibility of using Helicon discharge as a propulsive system are presented and the trends are discussed. Two collisional-radiative (C-R) models are developed for Argon and Xenon plasmas to analyze the experimental spectra. In the C-R models, electron induced excitation, deexcitation and ionization collisions, and spontaneous radiative de-excitation transitions are simulated for neutral and singly charged ion species. The models are validated against measured spectra obtained using different experimental setups. The BHT-200 Hall thruster has insulator ceramic annular walls made of Boron-Nitride (BN). Erosion of ceramic walls is one of the major life limiting factors for Hall thrusters. Emission spectroscopy is used as a means to determine the trends in the thruster wall erosion rate by measuring the radiation emission of the Boron neutral 249.68nm and 249.77nm lines. Discussion about the spectral measurements and relevant analysis are presented.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-239).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.