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Numerical Modeling and Testing of an Inductively-Driven and High-Energy Pulsed Plasma ThrustersPulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs) are advanced electric space propulsion devices that are characterized by simplicity and robustness. They suffer, however, from low thrust efficiencies. This summer, two approaches to improve the thrust efficiency of PPTs will be investigated through both numerical modeling and experimental testing. The first approach, an inductively-driven PPT, uses a double-ignition circuit to fire two PPTs in succession. This effectively changes the PPTs configuration from an LRC circuit to an LR circuit. The LR circuit is expected to provide better impedance matching and improving the efficiency of the energy transfer to the plasma. An added benefit of the LR circuit is an exponential decay of the current, whereas a traditional PPT s under damped LRC circuit experiences the characteristic "ringing" of its current. The exponential decay may provide improved lifetime and sustained electromagnetic acceleration. The second approach, a high-energy PPT, is a traditional PPT with a variable size capacitor bank. This PPT will be simulated and tested at energy levels between 100 and 450 joules in order to investigate the relationship between efficiency and energy level. Arbitrary Coordinate Hydromagnetic (MACH2) code is used. The MACH2 code, designed by the Center for Plasma Theory and Computation at the Air Force Research Laboratory, has been used to gain insight into a variety of plasma problems, including electric plasma thrusters. The goals for this summer include numerical predictions of performance for both the inductively-driven PPT and high-energy PFT, experimental validation of the numerical models, and numerical optimization of the designs. These goals will be met through numerical and experimental investigation of the PPTs current waveforms, mass loss (or ablation), and impulse bit characteristics.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Parma, Brian
(Arizona State Univ. United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Computer Operations And Hardware
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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