Grubisic, Angelo N. and Gabriel, Stephen B.
Hollow cathodes as a plasma propulsion device
In Proceedings of the 46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibition.
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 20 pp.
Full text not available from this repository.
Testing of T5 and T6 ion thruster derived hollow cathode thrusters (HCT) at the University of Southampton has demonstrated impressive propulsive performance showing potential for a number of new applications. Ongoing studies also indicate that the hollow cathode thruster concept can be scaled down to a micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMs) level device with improving thrust efficiencies. Initial results indicate 3 forms of HCT propulsion device are possible. The first is a high power <1kW device which evokes MPD (magneto-plasma-dynamic) principles to deliver very high specific impulses >1200s with inert propellants such as xenon and argon; essentially a low current (<30A) MPD-HCT thruster. The second form of device operates in an electrothermal mode at lower powers and currents (<100W, <3.2A) and is capable of delivering at least 427s with argon. More recently HCTs have also been proposed in a third form as an on-chip MEMs device for applications at very low power (<5W) with theoretical specific impulse up to 180s for xenon. This paper describes the current findings in HCT technology research and the proposed the possibility of extending this to MEMs scale
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