Electric Propulsion Plume Simulations Using Parallel Computer
Wang, Joseph C.
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A parallel, three-dimensional electrostatic PIC code is developed for large-scale electric propulsion simulations using parallel supercomputers. This code uses a newly developed immersed-finite-element particle-in-cell (IFE-PIC) algorithm designed to handle complex boundary conditions accurately while maintaining the computational speed of the standard PIC code. Domain decomposition is used in both field solve and particle push to divide the computation among processors. Two simulations studies are presented to demonstrate the capability of the code. The first is a full particle simulation of near-thruster plume using real ion to electron mass ratio. The second is a high-resolution simulation of multiple ion thruster plume interactions for a realistic spacecraft using a domain enclosing the entire solar array panel. Performance benchmarks show that the IFE-PIC achieves a high parallel efficiency of ≥ 90%