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Improved High-Voltage Gas Isolator for Ion ThrusterA report describes an improved high-voltage isolator for preventing electrical discharge along the flow path of a propellant gas being fed from a supply at a spacecraft chassis electrical potential to an ion thruster at a potential as high as multiple kilovolts. The isolator must survive launch vibration and must remain electrically nonconductive for thousands of hours under conditions that, in the absence of proper design, would cause formation of electrically conductive sputtered metal, carbon, and/or decomposed hydrocarbons on its surfaces. The isolator includes an alumina cylinder containing a spiral channel filled with a porous medium made from alumina microbeads fired together with an alumina slurry. Connections to gas-transport tubes are made at both ends of the alumina cylinder by means of metal caps containing fine-mesh screens to prevent passage of loose alumina particles. The outer surface of the alumina cylinder is convoluted to lengthen the electrical path between the metal caps and to afford shadow shielding to minimize the probability of formation of a continuous deposit that would electrically connect the ends. A flanged cylindrical metal cap that surrounds the alumina cylinder without touching one of the ends provides additional shadow shielding.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Banks, Bruce
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2007
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, March 2007
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20090041699.pdf STI

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20090041667Analytic PrimaryNASA Tech Briefs, March 2007