Chinese Space Science and Technology ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 11-21.doi: 10.16708/j.cnki.1000-758X.2020.0040

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Numerical study of electromagnetic acceleration mechanism for pulsed plasma thruster

YANG Sanxiang,LIU Chao,WANG Shangmin,FENG Jie,CHEN Juanjuan,WU Chenchen,JIA Yanhui, GUO Ning,GENG Hai    

  1. Science and Technology on Vacuum Technology and Physics Laboratory,Lanzhou Institute of Physics,Lanzhou 730000, China 

  • Online:2020-08-25 Published:2020-07-20

Abstract: In order to get a clear understanding of electromagnetic acceleration mechanism for pulsed plasma thrusters, and offer a theoretical foundation for the performance optimization and minification of the thruster,numerical simulation of the pulsed plasma thruster characteristic is necessarily to be researched. In this paper, a onedimensional integrated circuit model that includes the capacitance, inductance, electrodes and plasma is used to numerically study pulsed plasma thrusters. The electromagnetic acceleration mechanism of pulsed plasma thrusters is systematically investigated by varying the initial discharge voltage and separation distance of the electrodes. The results show that the thrust, specific impulse, impulse bit of pulsed plasma thrusters, and temperature and density of plasma increase with initial discharge voltage. Similarly, the thrust and specific impulse of thrusters also increase with the separation distance of electrodes. However, the igniting difficulty of thruster increases since the resistance between electrodes increases with the electrodes spacing. Therefore, there is an optimal value of distance between electrodes of the pulsed plasma thruster. 

Key words: electric propulsion, pulsed plasma thruster; numerical study; electromagnetic acceleration; Lorentz force