Results of an ongoing experimental/theoretical effort to understand the influence of plasma waves and instabilities upon coaxial plasma thruster performance and longevity are discussed. An experiment which permits measurement of the plasma dispersion relation plus a suite of plasma parameters for each one millisecond quasi-steady discharge is described. This investigation is guided by a linearized Boltzmann-Poisson kinetic numerical model which can accommodate the effects of collisions, inhomoge-neities and the magnetic field. Preliminary tests reveal the presence of the low-frequency branch of an ion cyclotron wave. Although the stability of these waves still has to be established through spatial growth rate measurements, it is well known that they are prone to “current-driven” instabilities. “Current-driven” instabilities in the collisional tensor conducting plasma of the MPD thruster are analytically discussed and their relevance to the MPD plasma is illustrated by estimating a critical total current at which their onset occurs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1987|
|Event||19th International Electric Propulsion Conference, 1987 - Colorado Springs, United States|
Duration: May 11 1987 → May 13 1987
|Other||19th International Electric Propulsion Conference, 1987|
|Period||5/11/87 → 5/13/87|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes