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Zhu, Yonry RApplications and Modeling of Non-Thermal Plasmas
Bachelor of Science (BS), Ohio University, 2018, Engineering Physics
This thesis focuses on validation of a 0D plasma kinetic model and its subsequent use as an explanatory tool to support the results of hot-fire tests of a plasma assisted rotating detonation combustor. The plasma model predictions showed good agreement with experimentally measured values of various ground state species number densities, vibrationally excited N2 number densities, plasma temperatures, and ignition delay times. Once validated, the plasma model was combined with a ZND detonation model and semi-empirical correlation to determine the effects of a non-thermal plasma on the reduction of the detonation cell size for an H2 - air mixture. The modeling results showed that non-thermal plasma significantly reduces the detonation cell size. This effect is most pronounced at lean conditions, where the model predicted a reduction in cell size by a factor of more than 100. For stoichiometric and rich conditions, the cell size reduction was around a factor of 5. An investigation was conducted to determine the viability of using a non-thermal plasma to expand the operating regime of a rotating detonation combustor. The plasma was produced with a nanosecond pulse generator connected to a ceramic and metal centerbody electrode. Hot-fire testing results showed that the plasma causes detonation onset in conditions that would otherwise not support detonation. This effect was most prominent at near-stoichiometric conditions, with a reduced effect for richer or leaner mixtures.

Committee:

David Burnette (Advisor)

Subjects:

Aerospace Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Plasma Physics

Keywords:

non-thermal plasma; plasma assisted combustion; nanosecond pulsed plasma; plasma modeling; detonation combustion; rotating detonation combustor; detonation;

Mahalingam, SudhakarParticle Based Plasma Simulation for an Ion Engine Discharge Chamber
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Wright State University, 2007, Engineering PhD
Design of the next generation of ion engines can benefit from detailed computer simulations of the plasma in the discharge chamber. In this work a complete particle based approach has been taken to model the discharge chamber plasma.This is the first time that simplifying continuum assumptions on the particle motion have not been made in a discharge chamber model. Because of the long mean free paths of the particles in the discharge chamber continuum models are questionable. The PIC-MCC model developed in this work tracks following particles: neutrals, singly charged ions, doubly charged ions, secondary electrons, and primary electrons. The trajectories of these particles are determined using the Newton-Lorentz's equation of motion including the effects of magnetic and electric fields. Particle collisions are determined using an MCC statistical technique. A large number of collision processes and particle wall interactions are included in the model. The magnetic fields produced by the permanent magnets are determined using Maxwell's equations. The electric fields are determined using an approximate input electric field coupled with a dynamic determination of the electric fields caused by the charged particles. In this work inclusion of the dynamic electric field calculation is made possible by using an inflated plasma permittivity value in the Poisson solver. This allows dynamic electric field calculation with minimal computational requirements in terms of both computer memory and run time. In addition, a number of other numerical procedures such as parallel processing have been implemented to shorten the computational time. The primary results are those modeling the discharge chamber of NASA's NSTAR ion engine at its full operating power. Convergence of numerical results such as total number of particles inside the discharge chamber, average energy of the plasma particles, discharge current, beam current and beam efficiency are obtained. Steady state results for the particle number density distributions and particle loss rates to the walls are presented. Comparisons of numerical results with experimental measurements such as currents and the particle number density distributions are made. Results from a parametric study and from an alternative magnetic field design are also given.

Committee:

James Menart (Advisor)

Keywords:

Particle Simulations; Plasma modeling; PIC-MCC simulations; Ion Engine Discharge Chamber; Electric Propulsion; Parallel processing; Parallel Poisson solver