The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Modelling and design of inductively coupled radio frequency gridded ion thrusters with an application to Ion Beam Shepherd type space missions

Modelling and design of inductively coupled radio frequency gridded ion thrusters with an application to Ion Beam Shepherd type space missions
Modelling and design of inductively coupled radio frequency gridded ion thrusters with an application to Ion Beam Shepherd type space missions
Recently proposed space missions such as Darwin, LISA and NGGM have encouraged the development of electric propulsion thrusters capable of operating in the micro-Newton (N) thrust range. To meet these requirements, radio frequency (RF) gridded ion thrusters need to be scaled down to a few centimetres in size. Due to the small size of these thrusters, it is important to accurately determine the thermal and performance parameters. To achieve this, an RF ion thruster model has been developed, composed of plasma discharge, 2D axisymmetric ion extraction, 3D electromagnetic, 3D thermal and RF circuit models. The plasma discharge model itself is represented using 0D global, 2D axisymmetric and 3D molecular neutral gas, and Boltzmann electron transport sub-models. This is the first time such a holistic/comprehensive model has been created. The model was successfully validated against experimental data from the RIT 3.5 thruster, developed for the NGGM mission. Afterwards, the computational model was used to design an RF gridded ion thruster for an Ion Beam Shepherd (IBS) type space debris removal mission. Normally, the IBS method requires two thrusters: one for impulse transfer (IT) and one for impulse compensation (IC). This thesis proposes a novel thruster concept for the IBS type missions where a single Double-Sided Thruster (DST) simultaneously producing ion beams for the IT and IC purposes is used. The advantage of DST design is that it requires approximately half the RF power compared with two single-ended thrusters and it has a much simpler sub-system architecture, lower cost, and lower total mass. Such a DST thruster was designed, built and tested, with the requirements and constraints taken from the LEOSWEEP space debris removal mission. During the experimental campaign, a successful extraction of two ion beams was achieved. The thesis has shown that it is possible to control the thrust magnitudes from the IT and IC sides by varying the number of apertures in each ion optics system, proving that the DST concept is a viable alternative for the LOESWEEP mission.
University of Southampton
Dobkevicius, Mantas
2d6c5609-e87c-4985-b232-46afed1222f6
Dobkevicius, Mantas
2d6c5609-e87c-4985-b232-46afed1222f6
Sandham, Neil
0024d8cd-c788-4811-a470-57934fbdcf97

Dobkevicius, Mantas (2017) Modelling and design of inductively coupled radio frequency gridded ion thrusters with an application to Ion Beam Shepherd type space missions. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 263pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Recently proposed space missions such as Darwin, LISA and NGGM have encouraged the development of electric propulsion thrusters capable of operating in the micro-Newton (N) thrust range. To meet these requirements, radio frequency (RF) gridded ion thrusters need to be scaled down to a few centimetres in size. Due to the small size of these thrusters, it is important to accurately determine the thermal and performance parameters. To achieve this, an RF ion thruster model has been developed, composed of plasma discharge, 2D axisymmetric ion extraction, 3D electromagnetic, 3D thermal and RF circuit models. The plasma discharge model itself is represented using 0D global, 2D axisymmetric and 3D molecular neutral gas, and Boltzmann electron transport sub-models. This is the first time such a holistic/comprehensive model has been created. The model was successfully validated against experimental data from the RIT 3.5 thruster, developed for the NGGM mission. Afterwards, the computational model was used to design an RF gridded ion thruster for an Ion Beam Shepherd (IBS) type space debris removal mission. Normally, the IBS method requires two thrusters: one for impulse transfer (IT) and one for impulse compensation (IC). This thesis proposes a novel thruster concept for the IBS type missions where a single Double-Sided Thruster (DST) simultaneously producing ion beams for the IT and IC purposes is used. The advantage of DST design is that it requires approximately half the RF power compared with two single-ended thrusters and it has a much simpler sub-system architecture, lower cost, and lower total mass. Such a DST thruster was designed, built and tested, with the requirements and constraints taken from the LEOSWEEP space debris removal mission. During the experimental campaign, a successful extraction of two ion beams was achieved. The thesis has shown that it is possible to control the thrust magnitudes from the IT and IC sides by varying the number of apertures in each ion optics system, proving that the DST concept is a viable alternative for the LOESWEEP mission.

Text
Mantas_Dobkevicius_PhD_thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (9MB)

More information

Published date: June 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413768
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413768
PURE UUID: 0b4a8888-6aed-4409-81c3-fbb463dfe7db
ORCID for Neil Sandham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5107-0944

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Sep 2017 16:31
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:49

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×