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Ablation Study in a Capillary Sustained Discharge

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4 Author(s)
Keidar, M. ; Dept. of Aerosp. Eng., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI ; Boyd, I.D. ; Williams, A. ; Beyer, R.

Electrothermal-chemical ignition systems have been demonstrated in gun systems to provide desirable characteristics including reproducible shorter ignition delays. We present a combined theoretical and experimental study of the capillary discharge with an aim to develop a capillary plasma source with efficient energy conversion. The major emphasis in the present capillary discharge model is the ablation phenomenon. Consideration is given to different characteristic subregions near the ablated surface: namely, a space-charge sheath, a Knudsen layer, and a hydrodynamic layer. A kinetic approach is used to determine the parameters at the interface between the kinetic Knudsen layer and the hydrodynamic layer. Coupling the solution of the nonequilibrium Knudsen layer with the hydrodynamic layer provides a self-consistent solution for the ablation rate. According to the model predictions, the peak electron temperature is about 1.4 eV, the polyethylene surface temperature is about 700 K, and the pressure is about 10 MPa in the case of a 0.6 kJ discharge. In parallel, a parametric experimental study of the capillary ablation process is conducted. The ablation rates are measured for capillary tubes made of polyethylene and Teflon. Both experimental measurements and simulations indicate that the ablated mass increases with the peak discharge current and that a smaller diameter capillary yields a larger ablated mass. It is found that model predictions agree well with experimental measurements

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Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 1 )