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Control and Propulsion of an Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Ring

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4 Author(s)
Shpanin, L.M. ; Power Syst. & Control Group, Birmingham Univ., Birmingham ; Jones, G.R. ; Spencer, J.W. ; Djakov, B.E.

A new approach for the electromagnetic control and propulsion of a current carrying electric arc plasma ring is described. The essence of the approach is to form and manipulate the arc plasma outside rather than inside an electromagnetic field (B-field) producing coil so that pulsed plasma thrusts can be produced in a choice of different directions. The interaction of the electric arc, formed in atmospheric pressure air, with such B-field has been investigated. It has been shown that a stable azimuthal plasma ring can rapidly be produced by the simple process of separating two annular contacts. Pulsed plasma propulsion is obtained when the arc plasma, and B-field sustaining current is automatically reduced to zero, whereby the constraining electromagnetic forces are removed and, as a consequence, the resulting plasma ring radially expands outwards. Several different measurement techniques have been deployed for investigating the behavior of the plasma ring. These include electrical probing, B-field probing, and high-speed plus video photography. Experimental results are shown to be in good agreement with theoretical estimates based upon a Sedov's self-similar model.

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Oct. 2008

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