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Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 327021, 16 pages
Research Article

Numerical Study of Hall Thruster Plume and Sputtering Erosion

1School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
2Department of Electric Propulsion, Shanghai Institute of Space Propulsion, Shanghai 200233, China

Received 14 August 2012; Accepted 28 October 2012

Academic Editor: Yansheng Liu

Copyright © 2012 Li Yan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Potential sputtering erosion caused by the interactions between spacecraft and plasma plume of Hall thrusters is a concern for electric propulsion. In this study, calculation model of Hall thruster’s plume and sputtering erosion is presented. The model is based on three dimensional hybrid particle-in-cell and direct simulation Monte Carlo method (PIC/DSMC method) which is integrated with plume-wall sputtering yield model. For low-energy heavy-ion sputtering in Hall thruster plume, the Matsunami formula for the normal incidence sputtering yield and the Yamamura angular dependence of sputtering yield are used. The validation of the simulation model is realized through comparing plume results with the measured data. Then, SPT-70’s sputtering erosion on satellite surfaces is assessed and effect of mass flow rate on sputtering erosion is analyzed.