We study the steady-state expansion of a collisionless, electrostatic, quasi-neutral plasma plume into vacuum, with a fluid model. We analyze approximate semi-analytical solutions, that can be used in lieu of much more expensive numerical solutions. In particular, we focus on the earlier studies presented in Parks and Katz (1979 American Institute of Aeronautics, Astronautics Conf. vol 1), Korsun and Tverdokhlebova (1997 33rd Joint Prop. Conf. (Seattle, WA) AIAA-97-3065), and Ashkenazy and Fruchtman (2001 27th Int. Electric Propulsion Conf. (Pasadena, CA)). By calculating the error with respect to the numerical solution, we can judge the range of validity for each solution. Moreover, we introduce a generalization of earlier models that has a wider range of applicability, in terms of plasma injection profiles. We conclude by showing a straightforward way to extend the discussed solutions to the case of a plasma plume injected with non-null azimuthal velocity.
Plasma Sources Science and Technology
Multiscale Dynamics

Camporeale, E., Hogan, E., & MacDonald, E. (2015). Approximate semi-analytical solutions for the steady-state expansion of a contactor plasma. Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 24. doi:10.1088/0963-0252/24/2/025014