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Hollow cathodes as a plasma propulsion device

Grubisic, Angelo N. and Gabriel, Stephen B. (2008) 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.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


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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Published date: 7 January 2008
Venue - Dates: 46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibition, 2008-01-07 - 2008-01-10
Keywords: hollow cathode, thruster, plasma
Organisations: Astronautics Group


Local EPrints ID: 72464
PURE UUID: 202a73be-153f-4791-a6be-55799f9b717e

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Date deposited: 15 Feb 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:54

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Author: Stephen B. Gabriel

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