Modeling plasma processes in 1 kW hydrazine arcjet thrusters

Thomas W. McGli, Junqing Lu, Herman Krier, Rodney L. Burton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper presents new predictions for arcjet plasma flow processes with improvements to the Megli-Krier-Burton Model. This model treats steadystate, two temperatures (electrons; heavy species), chemical non-equilibrium viscous flow, and it includes flow swirl and anode heat transfer in a converging-diverging nozzle with variable cathode gap. Key results here show that the analysis for accurate description of the inelastic coupling of electrons-molecules significantly alters the predicted current attachment location and the subsequent location for the ohmic heating. This then produces a significant cathode voltage sheath, which can currently be treated in our model only by imposing almost 50% of the overall 100 volts (Power = 1 kW, with 10 amps) as electrode boundary conditions. Recommendations are presented for future work to couple near electrode voltage sheath solutions to the thermophysics model(s) currently used to predict arcjet thruster performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 1996
Event32nd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 1996 - Lake Buena Vista, United States
Duration: Jul 1 1996Jul 3 1996


Other32nd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 1996
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering


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