This study focuses on Hall-effect thrusters, which were first invented in the 1960s. Although such systems have been extensively studied, the detailed physics of the magnetized plasmas in these thrusters is very complex and several plasma processes that have direct influence on the thruster performance and lifetime are still poorly understood.
Therefore, the current design and development of Hall-effect Thrusters is still semi-empirical with long and expensive life qualification tests required. In the context of the ANR industrial chair POSEIDON (collaboration between LPP, CERFACS and SNECMA), a new numerical methodology is being developed to reduce the number of experimental tests in the develop cycle of future electric thrusters.
The main goals of this PRACE project “UNPIC3D” are to better understand plasmas in realistic electric thruster designs, to develop a 3D numerical code for treating such problems, and to use this tool to improve the efficiency of existing products and in this way to provide the foundation for future thruster designs.
18 Mh have been attributed to UNPIC3D project on Curie in the frame of 15th PRACE call.