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Guide to Flow Measurement for Electric Propulsion SystemsIn electric propulsion (EP) systems, accurate measurement of the propellant mass flow rate of gas or liquid to the thruster and external cathode is a key input in the calculation of thruster efficiency and specific impulse. Although such measurements are often achieved with commercial mass flow controllers and meters integrated into propellant feed systems, the variability in potential propellant options and flow requirements amongst the spectrum of EP power regimes and devices complicates meter selection, integration, and operation. At the direction of the Committee on Standards for Electric Propulsion Testing, a guide was jointly developed by members of the electric propulsion community to establish a unified document that contains the working principles, methods of implementation and analysis, and calibration techniques and recommendations on the use of mass flow meters in laboratory and spacecraft electric propulsion systems. The guide is applicable to EP devices of all types and power levels ranging from microthrusters to high-power ion engines and Hall effect thrusters. The establishment of a community standard on mass flow metering will help ensure the selection of the proper meter for each application. It will also improve the quality of system performance estimates by providing comprehensive information on the physical phenomena and systematic errors that must be accounted for during the analysis of flow measurement data. This paper will outline the standard methods and recommended practices described in the guide titled "Flow Measurement for Electric Propulsion Systems."
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Frieman, Jason D.
(Georgia Inst. of Tech. Atlanta, GA, United States)
Walker, Mitchell L. R.
(Georgia Inst. of Tech. Atlanta, GA, United States)
Snyder, Steve
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 6, 2015
Publication Date
October 6, 2013
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC2013)
Location: Washington, DC
Country: United States
Start Date: October 6, 2013
End Date: October 10, 2013
Sponsors: Electric Rocket Propulsion Society
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
spacecraft electric propulsion (EP) systems
mass flow meters

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