Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster

Thomas S. Rutledge, Michael M. Micci, Sven G. Bilén

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

Abstract

A low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster was designed to operate at approximately 100 watts, using inductive coupling to deliver the electrical power to a gaseous propellant injected into a 1-cm diameter quartz tube chamber. Initial cold-flow and hot-fire tests were performed on the thruster under vacuum with helium propellant to evaluate its performance from measurements of mass flow, chamber pressure, and forward and reflected power. The results suggest substantial improvements are necessary to make this a viable electrothermal thruster. Thus far, it has fallen short of the goal of reaching chamber pressures of one atmosphere by about 50%, the most apparent problem being the insufficient transfer of power to the discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Hartford, CT, United States
Duration: Jul 21 2008Jul 23 2008

Publication series

Name44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit

Other

Other44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
CountryUnited States
CityHartford, CT
Period7/21/087/23/08

Fingerprint

propellants
Propellants
radio frequencies
flow chambers
radio
pressure chambers
electrical power
mass flow
helium
Helium
Quartz
Fires
quartz
chambers
Vacuum
tubes
atmospheres
vacuum
atmosphere
test

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

Cite this

Rutledge, T. S., Micci, M. M., & Bilén, S. G. (2008). Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. In 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).
Rutledge, Thomas S. ; Micci, Michael M. ; Bilén, Sven G. / Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit. 2008. (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).
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Rutledge, TS, Micci, MM & Bilén, SG 2008, Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. in 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit. 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Hartford, CT, United States, 7/21/08.

Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. / Rutledge, Thomas S.; Micci, Michael M.; Bilén, Sven G.

44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit. 2008. (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).

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

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N2 - A low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster was designed to operate at approximately 100 watts, using inductive coupling to deliver the electrical power to a gaseous propellant injected into a 1-cm diameter quartz tube chamber. Initial cold-flow and hot-fire tests were performed on the thruster under vacuum with helium propellant to evaluate its performance from measurements of mass flow, chamber pressure, and forward and reflected power. The results suggest substantial improvements are necessary to make this a viable electrothermal thruster. Thus far, it has fallen short of the goal of reaching chamber pressures of one atmosphere by about 50%, the most apparent problem being the insufficient transfer of power to the discharge.

AB - A low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster was designed to operate at approximately 100 watts, using inductive coupling to deliver the electrical power to a gaseous propellant injected into a 1-cm diameter quartz tube chamber. Initial cold-flow and hot-fire tests were performed on the thruster under vacuum with helium propellant to evaluate its performance from measurements of mass flow, chamber pressure, and forward and reflected power. The results suggest substantial improvements are necessary to make this a viable electrothermal thruster. Thus far, it has fallen short of the goal of reaching chamber pressures of one atmosphere by about 50%, the most apparent problem being the insufficient transfer of power to the discharge.

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Rutledge TS, Micci MM, Bilén SG. Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. In 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit. 2008. (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).