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Endurance testing of the additively manufactured STAR resistojet

Endurance testing of the additively manufactured STAR resistojet
Endurance testing of the additively manufactured STAR resistojet
This paper reports the outcome of endurance tests performed on a proof-of-concept design of a high-temperature resistojet thruster. A high-performance resistojet could enable a fully all-electric spacecraft architecture providing all propulsion system functions. The thruster utilises a novel additive-manufactured heat exchanger, consisting of concentric thin-walled cylinders, which act as both a resistive heating element and regenerative heat exchanger. Two complete thruster assemblies were tested, with heat exchangers manufactured from 316L stainless steel using selective laser melting. The two test units were used to investigate the operational endurance and determine life-limiting failure modes of the design. The tests consisted of repeated operational cycling to known temperature limits while under vacuum. Degradation and failure was inferred from electrical characteristics of the thrusters, and X-ray computed tomography imaging was used for non-destructive inspection both pre- and post-testing. The analysis showed that the failure modes are due to thermally-induced stresses resulting from mechanical constraints and temperature gradients. The failures occurred after approximately 40 cycles in the first thruster operating with a current of 25 A, and, in the second thruster, after a total of 300 cycles at 15 A and 217 cycles at 20 A, resulting in two distinctly different failure locations.
0261-3069
Robinson, Matthew, David
27da85d7-512a-4ce6-9e55-7e2e576311d7
Grubisic, Angelo
94e5f6ea-9b65-4c81-bfa1-f0e29e8bbaf4
Rempelos, Georgios
c58f755e-d094-489b-9716-0a8fb061ce8a
Romei, Federico
2c01d8c3-430b-49f8-9c8c-e30d0d135f89
Ogunlesi, Christopher
d7a11918-d503-4df7-9bd3-1fca49f4d01b
Ahmed, Sharif
ddc6bab1-9d76-4391-b7ea-ae68d6f3924d
Robinson, Matthew, David
27da85d7-512a-4ce6-9e55-7e2e576311d7
Grubisic, Angelo
94e5f6ea-9b65-4c81-bfa1-f0e29e8bbaf4
Rempelos, Georgios
c58f755e-d094-489b-9716-0a8fb061ce8a
Romei, Federico
2c01d8c3-430b-49f8-9c8c-e30d0d135f89
Ogunlesi, Christopher
d7a11918-d503-4df7-9bd3-1fca49f4d01b
Ahmed, Sharif
ddc6bab1-9d76-4391-b7ea-ae68d6f3924d

Robinson, Matthew, David, Grubisic, Angelo, Rempelos, Georgios, Romei, Federico, Ogunlesi, Christopher and Ahmed, Sharif (2019) Endurance testing of the additively manufactured STAR resistojet. Materials & Design, 180, [107907]. (doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2019.107907).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper reports the outcome of endurance tests performed on a proof-of-concept design of a high-temperature resistojet thruster. A high-performance resistojet could enable a fully all-electric spacecraft architecture providing all propulsion system functions. The thruster utilises a novel additive-manufactured heat exchanger, consisting of concentric thin-walled cylinders, which act as both a resistive heating element and regenerative heat exchanger. Two complete thruster assemblies were tested, with heat exchangers manufactured from 316L stainless steel using selective laser melting. The two test units were used to investigate the operational endurance and determine life-limiting failure modes of the design. The tests consisted of repeated operational cycling to known temperature limits while under vacuum. Degradation and failure was inferred from electrical characteristics of the thrusters, and X-ray computed tomography imaging was used for non-destructive inspection both pre- and post-testing. The analysis showed that the failure modes are due to thermally-induced stresses resulting from mechanical constraints and temperature gradients. The failures occurred after approximately 40 cycles in the first thruster operating with a current of 25 A, and, in the second thruster, after a total of 300 cycles at 15 A and 217 cycles at 20 A, resulting in two distinctly different failure locations.

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More information

In preparation date: 2019
Accepted/In Press date: 30 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 May 2019
Published date: 15 October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429189
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429189
ISSN: 0261-3069
PURE UUID: b017e5a5-ad34-4b4a-add9-20704190c06e
ORCID for Federico Romei: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2283-4658

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 15 Sep 2021 02:19

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Contributors

Author: Matthew, David Robinson
Author: Angelo Grubisic
Author: Georgios Rempelos
Author: Federico Romei ORCID iD
Author: Christopher Ogunlesi
Author: Sharif Ahmed

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