Volume 2, 2011Progress in Propulsion Physics
|Page(s)||601 - 616|
|Published online||01 October 2012|
Elementary scaling laws for the design of low and high power hall effect thrusters
ICARE, CNRS Avenue de la Recherche Scientifique 1c, Orléans 45071, France
An advanced set of scaling laws for Hall effect thrusters running with Xenon as propellant is established on the basis of the existence of an optimum atom number density that warrants a high efficiency thruster operation. A set of general relationships between macroscopic quantities, like thrust and input power, dimensions, including the channel length, the channel width and the channel mean diameter, and magnetic field strength are inferred from the main physical processes at work in a Hall thruster discharge. The “atom density constraint” of which the nature is here critically interpreted allows simplifying those relationships as it leads to a linear dependency between the channel length and mean diameter. Scaling laws which represent an essential tool for sizing up and down Hall thrusters are eventually obtained after proportionnality coefficients are determined. This last step is realized by means of a vast database that presently encompasses 33 single-stage Hall thrusters. In order to illustrate the usefulness of this new set of scaling laws, two practical applications are given and discussed. The scaling laws are first employed to calculate the dimensions and the operating parameters for a 20-kilowatt Hall thruster capable of producing 1 N of thrust. Such an electrical engine would permit orbit transfer of large communication satellites. Finally, the geometry of a Hall thruster is determined for tolerating 100 kW, an interesting power level for interplanetary trips.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011