Anomalous reistivity and heating in current-driven plasma thrusters


E.Y. Choueiri (EPPDyL, Princeton University)

Document type:

Journal: Physics of Plasmas, 6(5):2290--2306, 1999.


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We present a theory of anomalous resistivity and particle heating in current-driven plasma accelerators such as the magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPDT). We use an electromagnetic dielectric tensor for a current-carrying, collisional and finite-beta plasma and find that an instability akin to the generalized lower hybrid drift instability (GLHDI) exists for electromagnetic modes (i.e.~with finite polarization). We then use weak turbulence theory to develop a second-order description of the heating rates of particles by the waves and the electron-wave momentum exchange rate that controls the anomalous resistivity effect. We find that the electron Hall parameter strongly scales the level of anomalous dissipation for the case of the MPDT plasma. This scaling has recently been confirmed experimentally [Phys.\ Plasmas {\bf 5}, 3581 (1997)]. Polynomial expressions of the relevant transport coefficients cast solely in terms of macroscopic parameters are also obtained for including microturbulence effects in numerical plasma fluid models used for thruster flow simulation.

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