Misra, K. Mathematical Modeling of Liquid-fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster. Aerospace2018, 5, 13.
Misra, K. Mathematical Modeling of Liquid-fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster. Aerospace 2018, 5, 13.
Liquid propellants are fast becoming attractive for pulsed plasma thrusters due to their high efficiency and low contamination issues. However, the complete plasma interaction and acceleration processes are still not very clear. Present paper develops a multi-layer numerical model for liquid propellant PPTs. The model proposes a possible acceleration mechanism for liquid fed pulsed plasma thrusters and accurately predicts the propellant utilization capabilities and estimations for the fraction of propellant gas that is completely ionized and accelerated to high exit velocities. Validation of the numerical model and the assumptions on which the model is based on is achieved by comparing the experimental results from two different liquid-fed thrusters developed at the University of Tokyo. Results show 50% of liquid propellant injected is completely ionized and accelerated to high exit velocities (> 50Km/s), whereas, neutral gas contribute to only 7% of the total specific impulse and accelerated to low exit velocity (< 4Km/s). The model shows an accuracy up-to 92%. Optimization methods are briefly discussed to ensure efficient propellant utilization and performance. The model acts as a tool to understand the background physics and to optimize the performance for liquid-fed PPTs.
electric propulsion; space propulsion systems; pulsed plasma thruster; liquid propellant; numerical modeling; ionized gas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.