Experimental Studies of Explosively-Driven Magnetohydrodynamic Generators
Final rept. 1 Oct 94-31 Oct 97
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM
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The field of High Power Microwaves HPM has evolved as a result of advances in the field of pulsed power, which has made pulses of electrical energy available that can drive HPM sources to gigawatt levels. One of the most compact forms of pulsed power involves the storage of chemical energy in the form of explosive charges. Explosive magnetohydrodynamic MHD generators are electrical power sources, which convert the kinetic energy of moving plasma into useful electrical energy through the magnetic portion of the Lorentz force. This report describes research conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory to test specific designs of explosively driven magnetohydrodynamic generators. The goal of the research was to investigate the use of gigawatt generators in driving reactive loads appropriate to diode, and ultimately HPM applications. Two test series were performed, the first of which consisted of experiments on a low voltage generator and the second of which had the goal of scaling the existing design to higher voltage while retaining the reactive-type load. The complex problem of diagnostics of the plasma in this explosive test was addressed using fast, temporally resolved, plasma measurements, as well as spectroscopic plasma constituent measurements.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics