Anomalous resistivity and heating in current-driven plasma thrusters

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A theory is presented of anomalous resistivity and particle heating in current-driven plasma accelerators such as the magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPDT). An electromagnetic dielectric tensor is used for a current-carrying, collisional and finite-beta plasma and it is found that an instability akin to the generalized lower hybrid drift instability (GLHDI) exists for electromagnetic modes (i.e., with finite polarization). Weak turbulence theory is then used 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. It is found 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 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2290-2306
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - May 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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