A magnetic nozzle, which is a convergent-divergent magnetic field to control a plasma flow, has been investigated for application to plasma propulsion systems in spaceships. In the magnetic nozzle, plasma thermal energy is converted to one-directional kinetic energy by Lorentz force to generate thrust. Although magnetic field structure and strength are optimized for improvement of the thrust performance, it is essential to understand physical processes of plasma ejection from the nozzle, because the plasma may flow back along lines of magnetic field if the directed plasma continues being strongly magnetized. It is assumed, for one of the scenarios to explain a plasma detachment, that a plasma detaches from magnetic field when a cyclotron radius exceeds a scale length of magnetic field in size. Hence, we investigate a plasma detachment condition by analyzing parameters of the plasma for unmagnetization. We assumed individual particle motion of a fully ionized plasma in the magnetic nozzle and conducted a full particle-in-cell simulation in a two-dimensional coordinate system. We calculated a ratio of cyclotron radius to a scale length of the magnetic field. The ratio increased in a downstream due to variation of magnetic field induced from a diamagnetic cavity, suggesting unmagnetization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics