Title page for ETD etd-09222005-111355

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kafafy, Raed
URN etd-09222005-111355
Title Immersed Finite Element Particle-In-Cell Simulations of Ion Propulsion
Degree PhD
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wang, Joseph C. Committee Chair
Adjerid, Slimane Committee Member
Lin, Tao Committee Member
Ribbens, Calvin J. Committee Member
Schetz, Joseph A. Committee Member
  • Electric Propulsion
  • Ion Thruster
  • Finite Element
  • Particle-in-Cell
Date of Defense 2005-09-01
Availability unrestricted
A new particle-in-cell algorithm was developed for plasma simulations involving complex

boundary conditions. The new algorithm is based on the three-dimensional

immersed finite element method which is developed in this thesis, and a modified

legacy particle-in-cell code. The model also applies a new meshing technique that

separates the field solution mesh from the particle pushing mesh in order to increase

the computational eciency of the model.

The new simulation model is used in two applications of great importance to the

development of ion propulsion technology: the ion optics performance and the interaction

between spacecraft and the ion thruster. The first application is ion optics

simulations. Simulations are performed to investigate ion optics plasma flow for a

whole subscale NEXT ion optics. The operating conditions modeled cover the entire

cross-over to perveance limit range. The results of the ion optics simulations

demonstrated good agreement with the available experimental data. The second

application is ion thruster plume simulations. Simulations are performed to investigate

ion thruster plume - spacecraft interactions for the Dawn spacecraft. Plume

induced contaminations on the solar array are studied for a variety of ion thruster

configurations including multiple thruster firings.

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