IR-assisted discharge initiation in pulsed plasma thrusters

James E. Cooley, Edgar Y. Choueiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is demonstrated that a discharge can be initiated in a pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) at an undervoltage by shining an IR laser pulse on the thruster's backplate. The technique has the potential for achieving uniform and erosion-free discharge initiation. Three candidate mechanisms are investigated: thermionic emission, cathode vaporization, and gas desorption. Mass spectroscopic measurements and theoretical calculations implicate water desorption from the backplate as the likely explanation for the observed effects. It is then shown that while thermionic emission was not operative in the experiments, it can be used as the basis of the design of a discharge initiator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Event38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit 2002 - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jul 7 2002Jul 10 2002

Publication series

Name38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit

Other

Other38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit 2002
CountryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN
Period7/7/027/10/02

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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