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  1. Usage Of Polyacetal Powders As Laser Ablation Propulsion Propellants

    We examined impulse characteristics of polyoxymeythylene (POM) powders under irradiation by a TEA (Transversely-Excited at Atmospheric pressure)CO{sub 2} laser pulse. The impulse performance exhibited large scatter due to splashing particles. When the powder was hydraulically compacted to form a disk, the momentum coupling coefficient became comparable with that for bulk material, but the mass consumption was increased by several times.
  2. Modeling CO{sub 2} Laser Ablative Impulse with Polymers

    Laser ablation vaporization models have usually ignored the spatial dependence of the laser beam. Here, we consider effects from modeling using a Gaussian beam for both photochemical and photothermal conditions. The modeling results are compared to experimental and literature data for CO{sub 2} laser ablation of the polymer polyoxymethylene under vacuum, and discussed in terms of the ablated mass areal density and momentum coupling coefficient. Extending the scope of discussion, laser ablative impulse generation research has lacked a cohesive strategy for linking the vaporization and plasma regimes. Existing models, mostly formulated for ultraviolet laser systems or metal targets, appear tomore » be inappropriate or impractical for applications requiring CO{sub 2} laser ablation of polymers. A recently proposed method for linking the vaporization and plasma regimes for analytical modeling is addressed here along with the implications of its use. Key control parameters are considered, along with the major propulsion parameters needed for laser ablation propulsion modeling.« less
  3. Measurement Issues In Pulsed Laser Propulsion

    Various measurement techniques have been used throughout the over 40-year history of laser propulsion. Often, these approaches suffered from inconsistencies in definitions of the key parameters that define the physics of laser ablation impulse generation. Such parameters include, but are not limited to the pulse energy, spot area, imparted impulse, and ablated mass. The limits and characteristics of common measurement techniques in each of these areas will be explored as they relate to laser propulsion. The idea of establishing some standardization system for laser propulsion data is introduced in this paper, so that reported results may be considered and studiedmore » by the general community with more certain understanding of particular merits and limitations. In particular, it is the intention to propose a minimum set of requirements a literature study should meet. Some international standards for measurements are already published, but modifications or revisions of such standards may be necessary for application to laser ablation propulsion. Issues relating to development of standards will be discussed, as well as some examples of specific experimental circumstances in which standardization would have prevented misinterpretation or misuse of past data.« less
  4. Survey Of CO{sub 2} Laser Ablation Propulsion With Polyoxymethylene Propellant

    Polyoxymethylene (POM) has been widely studied as a laser propulsion propellant paired to CO{sub 2} laser radiation. POM is a good test case for studying ablation properties of polymer materials, and within limits, for study of general trends in laser ablation-induced impulse. Despite many studies, there is no general understanding of POM ablation that takes into account the ambient pressure, spot area, fluence, and effects from confinement and combustion. This paper reviews and synthesizes CO{sub 2} laser ablation propulsion research using POM targets. Necessary directions for future study are indicated to address incomplete regions of the various parameter spaces. Literaturemore » data is compared in terms of propulsion parameters such as momentum coupling coefficient and specific impulse, within a range of fluences from about 1-500 J/cm{sup 2}, ambient pressures from about 10{sup -2}-10{sup 5} Pa, and laser spot areas from about 0.01-10 cm{sup 2}.« less
  5. Impulse Characteristics of Laser-driven In-Tube Accelerator (LITA)

    In this study, impulse generation processes induced by a single laser pulse in the laser-driven in-tube accelerator are studied through pressure history measured at the center of the projectile base, which acts also as a parabolic mirror. The effects of the fill pressure, laser energy and length of a shroud are analyzed.
  6. Update On CO{sub 2} Laser Ablation Of Polyoxymethylene At 101 kPa

    Recent work has brought about a renewed interest in CO{sub 2} laser ablation studies of polyoxymethylene, due to its potential as a test target for enhancing modern understanding of the laser ablation process. In this paper, new results taken in air at atmosphere pressure are reported, including data measured at institutions in Germany and Japan, which increase the body of literature data on CO{sub 2} laser ablation of polyoxymethylene. The results are discussed in terms of aerospace parameters such as the momentum coupling coefficient and specific impulse, and are compared to a previous literature study. The threshold fluence is specifiedmore » for ablation of polyoxymethylene by CO{sub 2} laser radiation. Fluences higher (and lower) than previously tested for CO{sub 2} laser ablation were studied herein, and record specific impulse values for CO{sub 2} laser ablation of flat polyoxymethylene are also reported here.« less
  7. A Review of Laser Ablation Propulsion

    Laser Ablation Propulsion is a broad field with a wide range of applications. We review the 30-year history of laser ablation propulsion from the transition from earlier pure photon propulsion concepts of Oberth and Saenger through Kantrowitz's original laser ablation propulsion idea to the development of air-breathing 'Lightcraft' and advanced spacecraft propulsion engines. The polymers POM and GAP have played an important role in experiments and liquid ablation fuels show great promise. Some applications use a laser system which is distant from the propelled object, for example, on another spacecraft, the Earth or a planet. Others use a laser thatmore » is part of the spacecraft propulsion system on the spacecraft. Propulsion is produced when an intense laser beam strikes a condensed matter surface and produces a vapor or plasma jet. The advantages of this idea are that exhaust velocity of the propulsion engine covers a broader range than is available from chemistry, that it can be varied to meet the instantaneous demands of the particular mission, and that practical realizations give lower mass and greater simplicity for a payload delivery system. We review the underlying theory, buttressed by extensive experimental data. The primary problem in laser space propulsion theory has been the absence of a way to predict thrust and specific impulse over the transition from the vapor to the plasma regimes. We briefly discuss a method for combining two new vapor regime treatments with plasma regime theory, giving a smooth transition from one regime to the other. We conclude with a section on future directions.« less
  8. Laser Propulsion Standardization Issues

    It is a relevant issue in the research on laser propulsion that experimental results are treated seriously and that meaningful scientific comparison is possible between groups using different equipment and measurement techniques. However, critical aspects of experimental measurements are sparsely addressed in the literature. In addition, few studies so far have the benefit of independent confirmation by other laser propulsion groups. In this paper, we recommend several approaches towards standardization of published laser propulsion experiments. Such standards are particularly important for the measurement of laser ablation pulse energy, laser spot area, imparted impulse or thrust, and mass removal during ablation.more » Related examples are presented from experiences of an actual scientific cooperation between NU and DLR. On the basis of a given standardization, researchers may better understand and contribute their findings more clearly in the future, and compare those findings confidently with those already published in the laser propulsion literature. Relevant ISO standards are analyzed, and revised formats are recommended for application to laser propulsion studies.« less
  9. CO{sub 2} Laser Ablation Area Scaling And Redeposition On Flat Polyoxymethylene Targets

    One of the remaining unknown subjects of laser propulsion involves whether special benefits or challenges exist for applying laser ablation propulsion to targets with particularly large or small spot areas. This subject is of high importance for a wide range of topics ranging from laser removal of space debris to micropropulsion for laser propulsion vehicles. Analysis is complex since different ablation phenomena are dominant between atmosphere and vacuum conditions. Progress has also been impeded by the difficulty of setting control parameters (particularly fluence) constant while the spot area is adjusted. It is also usually difficult for one group to addressmore » small- and large-area effects using a single high-power laser system. Recent collaborative experiments on laser ablation area scaling at several institutions, using 100-J class and 10-J class CO{sub 2} lasers, have advanced the understanding of laser propulsion area scaling. The spot area-dependence of laser propulsion parameters has been investigated over an area range covering approximately 0.05-50 cm{sup 2} at low fluence of about 0.6 J/cm{sup 2}. The experiments were conducted well below the threshold for plasma formation, and provide an estimate of the ablation threshold for CO{sub 2} laser ablation of POM.« less
  10. Physical Processes of the Interaction Between Laser-Generated Plasma and Blast Wave Appearing in Laser-Driven In-Tube Accelerator Configuration

    Flow visualizations of the interaction between a laser-pulse-generated plasma and a shock wave driven by it have been experimentally conducted. The configuration of the experimental set-up corresponds to the laser-driven, in-tube accelerator. Primary-mode deformation of the plasma is governed by Richtmyer-Meshkov instability which is produced by the vector product between the pressure and density gradients, which in turn correspond to a reflected shock wave and to the plasma, respectively. Higher-mode contact surface deformations are supposedly originated in Rayleigh-Taylor instability in the shrinkage phase of the plasma, and is enhanced due to the passage of the reflected shock wave.

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"Sasoh, Akihiro"

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