Impulse measurements of electric solid propellant in an electrothermal ablation-fed pulsed plasma thruster

Matthew S. Glascock, Joshua L. Rovey, Kurt A. Polzin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Electric solid propellants are advanced solid chemical rocket propellants that can be controlled (ignited, throttled and extinguished) through the application and removal of an electric current. These propellants are also being considered for use in the ablative pulsed plasma thruster. In this paper, the performance of an electric solid propellant operating in an electrothermal ablation-fed pulsed plasma thruster was investigated using an inverted pendulum micro-Newton thrust stand. The impulse bit and specific impulse of the device using the electric solid propellant were measured for short-duration test runs of 100 pulses and longer-duration runs to end-of-life, at energy levels of 5, 10, 15 and 20 J. Also, the device was operated using the current state-of-the-art ablation-fed pulsed plasma thruster propellant, polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. Impulse bit measurements for PTFE indicate 100±20 µN-s at an initial energy level of 5 J, which increases linearly by ~30 µN-s/J with increased initial energy. Measurements of the impulse bit for the electric solid propellant are on average lower than PTFE by 10% or less. Specific impulse for when operating on PTFE is calculated to be about 450 s compared to 225 s for the electric solid propellant. The 50% reduction in specific impulse is due to increased mass ablated during operation with the electric solid propellant relative to PTFE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105906
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
EventAIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019 - Indianapolis, United States
Duration: Aug 19 2019Aug 22 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019

Conference

ConferenceAIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019
CountryUnited States
CityIndianapolis
Period8/19/198/22/19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Glascock, M. S., Rovey, J. L., & Polzin, K. A. (2019). Impulse measurements of electric solid propellant in an electrothermal ablation-fed pulsed plasma thruster. In AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019 (AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition, 2019). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2019-3904