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Performance optimization criteria for pulsed inductive plasma acceleration

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2 Author(s)
Polzin, K.A. ; NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL ; Choueiri, Edgar Y.

A model of pulsed inductive plasma thrusters consisting of a set of coupled circuit equations and a one-dimensional momentum equation has been nondimensionalized leading to the identification of several scaling parameters. Contour plots representing thruster performance (exhaust velocity and efficiency) were generated numerically as a function of the scaling parameters. The analysis revealed the benefits of underdamped current waveforms and led to an efficiency maximization criterion that requires the circuit's natural period to be matched to the acceleration timescale. It is also shown that the performance increases as a greater fraction of the propellant is loaded nearer to the inductive acceleration coil

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 3 )