- March 2018
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- A paraxial model of an unmagnetized, collisionless plasma plume expanding into vacuum is presented. Electrons are treated kinetically, relying on the adiabatic invariance of their radial action integral for the integration of Vlasov's equation, whereas ions are treated as a cold species. The quasi-2D plasma density, self-consistent electric potential, and electron pressure, temperature, and heat fluxes are analyzed. In particular, the model yields the collisionless cooling of electrons, which differs from the Boltzmann relation and the simple polytropic laws usually employed in fluid and hybrid PIC/fluid plume codes.
- electric propulsion; plasma thrusters; plasma plumes; kinetic models; collisionless plasma; electron cooling