Mechanisms of Magnetoplasmadynamic Arcjet Acceleration Processes.
Final rept. 15 Oct 73-30 Aug 78,
TECHNION INC IRVINE CALIF
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Investigations into methods of utilizing ambient gas as propellant at satellite altitudes have been experimentally and analytically investigated. As part of this investigation, a class of space charge limited plasma accelerators has been studied. Experimentally, discharges in these devices are low current .1 amp to 2 amps and high voltage 200v to 10,000v. Ions are produced by electron bombardment of the adsorbed gases on the anode. Treating the flow of ions and electrons as a conducting fluid permits analogies with fluid flow phenomena. Sub- and supercritical flow for both ions and electrons correspond to subsonic and supersonic flow in a fluid. In one-dimensional flow, the electric field creates an electrostatic nozzle with critical flow occurring where the electric field is zero the electrostatic throat a rigorous analysis of the flow gives qualitative agreement with measured discharge characteristics. Space charge buildup limits the ratio of beam power to electric power input to under 1 for the operating mode wherein ions are produced from the adsorbed gas on the anode. Conventional performance as a pulsed plasma accelerator can be obtained by desorbing the gas from the anode rapidly so that breakdown occurs. Author
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
- Electric and Ion Propulsion