Abstract Title

Arcjet Thruster Project

Faculty Mentor Name

Darrel Smith

Format Preference

Oral and Poster Presentation

Abstract

Electric propulsion systems are critical to extending the lifetimes of satellites and other spacecraft. They are an increasingly important area of research for space industry companies looking to offer the longest lifetimes for commercial satellites. Electrothermal thrusters are Electric Propulsion (EP) devices that use electric power (electro) to generate heat (thermal) which is applied to a propellant, driving up pressure and enthalpy, which (in short) increases thrust output. Electric propulsion systems, compared with conventional chemical propulsion methods, have higher impulse ratings, higher thrust efficiency, better controllability, and longer operational lifetimes. The team has presented an electric propulsion project focused on designing, constructing, testing, and ultimately optimizing a simple electrothermal propulsion system. Through optimization of design parameters such as propellant mass flow rate, nozzle shape/length, cathode placement, and tangentially injected propellant, the hope is to optimize the thrust and specific impulse (Isp) performance levels of the propulsion system. The team has proposed that a simple arcjet can be constructed and operated to demonstrate feasibility of low-power electric propulsion systems, and allowing the investigation of the relevant properties such as thrust, specific impulse, and efficiency. The findings will contribute to the small body of knowledge regarding ultra-low-power arcjets of less than 1 kW in power, and their performance.

Ignite Grant Award, Invited Oral Presentation

Location

AC1-ATRIUM

Start Date

3-31-2017 11:00 AM

End Date

3-31-2017 3:00 PM

Share

COinS
 
Mar 31st, 11:00 AM Mar 31st, 3:00 PM

Arcjet Thruster Project

AC1-ATRIUM

Electric propulsion systems are critical to extending the lifetimes of satellites and other spacecraft. They are an increasingly important area of research for space industry companies looking to offer the longest lifetimes for commercial satellites. Electrothermal thrusters are Electric Propulsion (EP) devices that use electric power (electro) to generate heat (thermal) which is applied to a propellant, driving up pressure and enthalpy, which (in short) increases thrust output. Electric propulsion systems, compared with conventional chemical propulsion methods, have higher impulse ratings, higher thrust efficiency, better controllability, and longer operational lifetimes. The team has presented an electric propulsion project focused on designing, constructing, testing, and ultimately optimizing a simple electrothermal propulsion system. Through optimization of design parameters such as propellant mass flow rate, nozzle shape/length, cathode placement, and tangentially injected propellant, the hope is to optimize the thrust and specific impulse (Isp) performance levels of the propulsion system. The team has proposed that a simple arcjet can be constructed and operated to demonstrate feasibility of low-power electric propulsion systems, and allowing the investigation of the relevant properties such as thrust, specific impulse, and efficiency. The findings will contribute to the small body of knowledge regarding ultra-low-power arcjets of less than 1 kW in power, and their performance.

Ignite Grant Award, Invited Oral Presentation