1. FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRIC PROPULSION
Figures of merit for propulsion.
Specific thrust versus specific impulse.
Chemical versus electric propulsion(EP).
Optimal specific impulse.
Missions for EP: main types, historical milestones.
Plasma generation and acceleration mechanisms.
The EP family of thrusters
2. PLASMA PHYSICS APPLIED TO PROPULSION
Maxwell equations. On plasma typical units.
Quasineutrality. Debye sheaths and plasma-surface interaction.
The velocity distribution function and Boltzmann equation.
Main collisional processes (elastic, ionizing, Coulomb, CEX).
Magnetized particle dynamics.
Magnetized fluid dynamics: generalized Ohm and Fourier laws.
3. GRIDDED ION THRUSTERS
Principles of operation: discharge chamber, grids, hollow cathode.
The electric circuit.
Global model of discharge chamber:
current and power balances, magnetic confinement.
Inter-grid physics; the Child law.
Plasma plume expansion.
Hollow cathode physics.
4. HALL EFFECT THRUSTERS
Principles of operation.
The 2D multifluid formulation.
Secondary electron emission at ceramic walls.
The simplified 1D model: formulation and solution.
Global performance analysis and thrust mechanisms.
Thermal loads. Plasma and circuit oscillations.
Design of magnetic circuit.
Alternative configurations (TAL, cylindrical, two-stage, HEMP)
5. ADVANCED PLASMA THRUSTERS
Magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (with self and applied fields)
The helicon plasma thruster: RF production and magnetic nozzle acceleration.