Hybrid-PIC Computer Simulation of the Plasma and Erosion Processes in Hall Thrusters

HPHall software simulates and tracks the time-dependent evolution of the plasma and erosion processes in the discharge chamber and near-field plume of Hall thrusters. HPHall is an axisymmetric solver that employs a hybrid fluid/ particle-in-cell (Hybrid-PIC) numerical approach. HPHall, originally developed by MIT in 1998, was upgraded to HPHall-2 by the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 2006. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has continued the development of HPHall-2 through upgrades to the physical models employed in the code, and the addition of entirely new ones.

Primary among these are the inclusion of a three-region electron mobility model that more accurately depicts the cross-field electron transport, and the development of an erosion sub-model that allows for the tracking of the erosion of the discharge chamber wall. The code is being developed to provide NASA science missions with a predictive tool of Hall thruster performance and lifetime that can be used to validate Hall thrusters for missions.

This work was done by Richard R. Hofer, Ira Katz, and Ioannis G. Mikellides of Caltech and Manuel Gamero-Castano of the University of California, Irvine for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Refer to NPO-46513.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Hybrid-PIC Computer Simulation of the Plasma and Erosion Processes in Hall Thrusters (reference NPO-46513) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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