Materials Analysis of Transient Plasma-Wall Interactions
Final rept. 15 Jun 2011-14 Mar 2014
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE DEPT OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS
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This program seeks to advance the field of high temperature materials, space propulsion and electro-energetic physics research. With the discovery of a new class of electromagnetic pulsed plasma propulsion devices such as the Electrodeless Lorentz Force Thruster, it is critical to characterize and develop and new materials for these systems. Through a combination of experiment and surface analysis, the behavior of the plasma-material boundary under transient thermal convective and radiative loads was investigated. Specifically, transient non-equilibrium plasma flows have been produced over a range of high energy densities 100 kJsq m - 500 kJsq m, on time scales of 10s of microseconds. The initial investigations employed deuterium plasmas to reduce the effect of radiation effects while providing for a chemically active species whose effect on the substrate could easily be traced. The chemical and physical effects of these flows on a range of insulative, conducting and composite materials were examined by detailed surface analysis on the micro, meso and macro scale. The information obtained through Optical Microscopy, Secondary Electron Microscopy, and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy were used to develop a model showing the importance sputter and re-deposition.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics