- November 2021
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- A radial particle-in-cell model of the weakly-collisional plasma discharge in a Hall thruster, provides the non-Maxwellian velocity distribution functions (VDF) of ions and electrons. The model considers a radial magnetic field, secondary electron emission from the two walls, and phenomenological models of anomalous electron scattering. The electron VDF is used to assess the different terms in the macroscopic momentum and energy equations, identifying those differing from the standard fluid model for a near-Maxwellian VDF. The pressure tensor consists of an anisotropic gyrotropic part and a small gyroviscous part. Nonetheless, the gradient of this last one affects the cross-field electron current density, generating radial undulations that resemble those reported for near-wall conductivity. A gyroviscous energy flux is identified too. The heat flux parallel to the magnetic lines does not follow a conductive-type law but a convective-type one, already found in other weakly-collisional plasmas. The tails of the electron velocity distribution function are partially depleted due to wall collection, leading to reduced electron fluxes of particles and energy, which are characterized with parameters useful for fluid models. Differences in the plasma response for annular and planar channel geometries are highlighted. The levels of replenishment of the electron VDF and of the asymmetries in radial profiles differ for isotropic and anisotropic anomalous scattering models.
- hall thruster, particle-in-cell; gyroviscosity; heat flux; near-wall conductivity; non-maxwellian electron vdf