Characterization of a T6 Based Hollow Cathode Thruster

Grubisic, A.N., Gabriel, S.B. and Fearn, D.G. (2007) Characterization of a T6 Based Hollow Cathode Thruster. In, 58th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Hyderabad, India, 24 - 28 Sep 2007. London, UK, Acta Astronautica15pp.


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This paper characterizes thrust performance of a variant of the T6 hollow cathode modified for improved operational characteristics. The device displays promising performance and highlights the potential for application as a microthruster. The T6 cathode is able to produce specific impulse of over 1050s with xenon and argon; however the dominant acceleration mechanism at low flow rates is shown to be almost entirely electromagnetic effectively constituting a low power, magneto-plasma-dynamic thruster. The modified cathode also displayed very low discharge voltages ~12V and stable operation while carrying currents as high as 30-Amps on flow rates of less than 0.1mgs-1 down to 0.04mgs-1 with xenon. This investigation also highlights the importance of electrode geometry in hollow cathode thruster design and indeed in all other applications of hollow cathode where flow rates should be minimized.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: hollow cathode, plasma, ion propulsion, micro thruster
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Q Science > QB Astronomy
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences > Astronautics
ePrint ID: 48318
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
10 September 2007Published
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:24

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