Carbon Sputtering and Transportation in a Ground Facility during Electric Propulsion Testing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Carbon contamination of an electric propulsion (EP) facility as a result of backsputtering is a well-known problem in EP testing. As EP systems progress towards higher power capabilities (∼100 kW), the need to decouple facility contamination effects from the on-orbit performance and wear characteristics increases. In order to realize high-fidelity tracking of sputtered carbon in a ground facility, the combination of physics-based modeling and fundamental experiments is essential. This paper reports on results from three complementary activities to better understand and predict carbon sputtering and transport: (1) predicting sputter yield of graphite under low energy xenon bombardment by molecular dynamics simulations, (2) tracking sputtered carbon through the relevant facility and thruster plume environments using the Particle-In-Cell and Direct Simulation Monte Carlo method, and (3) developing a new carbon isotope tracking diagnostic to measure carbon transport in ground-based facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA AVIATION 2022 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624106354
StatePublished - 2022
EventAIAA AVIATION 2022 Forum - Chicago, United States
Duration: Jun 27 2022Jul 1 2022

Publication series

NameAIAA AVIATION 2022 Forum


ConferenceAIAA AVIATION 2022 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering


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