Thrust Balance Characterization of a 200W Quad Confinement Thruster for High Thrust Regimes

Abstract

A thrust balance characterization of a low powered Quad Confinement Thruster is presented for high levels of propellant flow. The nominal flow rate for this device is between 1sccm and 2sccm of Xenon propellant. This study extends the operating range, and investigates the performance at two high flow conditions of 10sccm and 20sccm. Power is varied incrementally between 20W and 200W in order to characterize the performance versus power trends of the device. It was found that for these high flow regimes the propellant is underutilized, and a proportion of the increased thrust can likely be attributed to a hot gas expansion of the neutral Xenon rather than the generation of additional accelerated ions. The thrust was increased from 1mN (nominal) to 3.3mN at 200W of input power for the 20sccm condition. However, the performance penalty in terms of the specific impulse was considerable. The specific impulse under these conditions dropped below 200s, where the nominal condition is 1000s. A compromise between increased thrust and decreased performance was found at 10sccm of flow: 3mN of thrust at 300s specific impulse.

9 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Knoll2013ThrustBC, title={Thrust Balance Characterization of a 200W Quad Confinement Thruster for High Thrust Regimes}, author={Aaron Knoll and Dimitrios A Lamprou and Vaios Lappas and Mark Pollard and Paolo Bianco}, year={2013} }