Chinese Space Science and Technology ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (5): 72-80.doi: 10.16708/j.cnki.1000-758X.2018.0050

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Magnetic circuit design for micro cathode arc thrusters

GENG Jinyue1,2,*,ZHOU Siqi 3,XIA Guangqing 3,CHEN Jun 1,2,SHEN Yan 1,2   

  1. 1Beijing Institute of Control Engineering, Beijing 100190, China
    2Beijing Engineering Research Center of Efficient and Green Aerospace Propulsion Technology,Beijing 100190, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Structural Analysis for Industrial Equipment, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
  • Received:2018-03-12 Revised:2018-04-25 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-08-29

Abstract: The microcathode arc thruster is one of the microelectric thrusters, which uses the vacuum arc to erode the cathode material and produce highly ionized high speed plasma, then pull out under the applied magnetic field to generate the thrust. The magnetic circuit design is the important work in the thruster design, it will affect the stability and the performance of the thruster. The multiturn solenoid calculation formula, 2D and 3D simulations were conducted in the magnetic circuit design, and the magnetic field strength increases with the increasing of coil current and coil turns. When the coil current is 15A and the coil has 600 turns, the maximum magnetic field strength along the discharge channel center line is more than 0.3T. The simulation results are in good agreement with the measured results by the Tesla meter. Finally, the timeofflight (TOF) method was used to measure the plasma velocity, it increases with the enhancement of magnetic field strength.

Key words: electric propulsion, microcathode arc thruster, magnetic circuit design, vacuum arc, TOF method