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Applied-field MPD thruster geometry effectsEight MPD thruster configurations were used to study the effects of applied field strength, propellant, and facility pressure on thruster performance. Vacuum facility background pressures higher than approx. 0.12 Pa were found to greatly influence thruster performance and electrode power deposition. Thrust efficiency and specific impulse increased monotonically with increasing applied field strength. Both cathode and anode radii fundamentally influenced the efficiency specific impulse relationship, while their lengths influence only the magnitude of the applied magnetic field required to reach a given performance level. At a given specific impulse, large electrode radii result in lower efficiencies for the operating conditions studied. For all test conditions, anode power deposition was the largest efficiency loss, and represented between 50 and 80 pct. of the input power. The fraction of the input power deposited into the anode decreased with increasing applied field and anode radii. The highest performance measured, 20 pct. efficiency at 3700 seconds specific impulse, was obtained using hydrogen propellant.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Myers, Roger M.
(Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Brook Park, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 1991
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA PAPER 91-2342
NAS 1.26:187163
Meeting Information
Joint Propulsion Conference(Sacramento, CA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 506-42-31
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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