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Title: Study of breakdown in an ablative pulsed plasma thruster

Breakdown in ablative pulsed plasma thrusters (APPTs) must be studied in order to design new types of APPTs and measure particular parameters. In this paper, we studied a parallel-plate ablative pulsed plasma thruster that used a coaxial semiconductor spark plug. By operating the APPT about 500 times with various capacitor voltages and electrode gaps, we measured and analyzed the voltage of the spark plug, the voltage between the electrodes, and the discharge current. These experiments revealed a time delay (∼1–10 μs) between spark plug ignition and capacitor discharge, which may affect the performance of high-pulsing-rate (>10 kHz) and double-discharge APPTs, and the measurements of some of the APPT parameters. The delay time decreased as the capacitor voltage increased, and it increased with an increasing electrode gap and increasing number of ignitions. We explain our results through a simple theoretical analysis.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081 (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22486480
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; BREAKDOWN; CAPACITORS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; ELECTRIC SPARKS; ELECTRODES; KHZ RANGE; PLASMA; PLATES; PULSES; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; THERMONUCLEAR IGNITION; THRUSTERS; TIME DELAY