Spacecraft Erosion

In-situ erosion test, material samples exposed to different plume regions for an extended time period

project personnel
Matthew Byrne

principal investigator
Benjamin Jorns

project sponsors

associated thrusters
H6, H9

EP devices are becoming common spacecraft components, and none more so than Hall thrusters. Hall thrusters produce azimuthally symmetric plumes with typical divergence angles of between 20 to 30 degrees. Most EP powered satellites are designed such that all surfaces are outside of this region. However, Hall thrusters produce significant current densities outside of the primary plume. The high energy ions from the exhaust plume bombard surfaces of the spacecraft causing erosion. This has a potential to cause problems for the future of EP, as even surfaces exposed to low ion flux can be damaged over the long periods of time expected on an EP powered mission. There is then a pressing and growing need in the EP community to predict the extent of the erosion and potentially mitigate its impact.

Selected Publications

  • Erosion of a meshed reflector in the plume of a Hall effect thruster, Part 1: Modeling

    Meyer, M., Byrne, M., Jorns, B., and Boyd, I.D.

    AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2019 Forum, Indianapolis, IN, AIAA-2019-3987, August 19-22, 2019

  • Erosion of Meshed Reflector in the Plume of a Hall Effect Thruster, Part 2: Experiments

    Byrne, M., Meyer, M., Boyd, I.D., and Jorns, B.

    AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2019 Forum, Indianapolis, IN, AIAA-2019-3988, August 19-22, 2019

  • Data-driven Models for the Effects of Background Pressure on the Operation of Hall Thrusters

    Byrne, M.P., and Jorns, B.A.

    36th International Electric Propulsion Conference, Vienna, Austria, IEPC-2019-630, 2019

  • Accelerating 23,000 hours of Ground Test Backsputtered Carbon on a Magnetically Shielded Hall Thruster

    Lobbia, R.B., Polk, J.E., Hofer, R.R., Chaplin, V.H., and Jorns, B.A

    AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2019 Forum, Indianapolis, IN, AIAA 2019-3898, 2019

  • Future Directions for Electric Propulsion Research

    Dale, Ethan; Jorns, Benjamin; Gallimore, Alec

    ,, August 17, 2020