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State-of-the-Art and Advancement Paths for Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters

1
NASA–George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA
2
Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
3
Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Aerospace 2020, 7(8), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7080105
Received: 10 June 2020 / Revised: 8 July 2020 / Accepted: 17 July 2020 / Published: 24 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electric Propulsion)
An inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT) operates by pulsing high current through an inductor, typically a coil of some type, producing an electromagnetic field that drives current in a plasma, accelerating it to high speed. The IPPT is electrodeless, with no direct electrical connection between the externally applied pulsed high-current circuit and the current conducted in the plasma. Several different configurations were proposed and tested, including those that produce a plasma consisting of an accelerating current sheet and those that use closed magnetic flux lines to help confine the plasma during acceleration. Specific impulses up to 7000 s and thrust efficiencies over 50% have been measured. The present state-of-the-art for IPPTs is reviewed, focusing on the operation, modeling techniques, and major subsystems found in various configurations. Following that review is documentation of IPPT technology advancement paths that were proposed or considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT); pulsed inductive thruster (PIT); theta pinch; conical theta pinch; field reversed configuration (FRC); rotating magnetic field (RMF); circuit modeling; plasma modeling; plasma thruster subsystems inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT); pulsed inductive thruster (PIT); theta pinch; conical theta pinch; field reversed configuration (FRC); rotating magnetic field (RMF); circuit modeling; plasma modeling; plasma thruster subsystems
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MDPI and ACS Style

Polzin, K.; Martin, A.; Little, J.; Promislow, C.; Jorns, B.; Woods, J. State-of-the-Art and Advancement Paths for Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters. Aerospace 2020, 7, 105. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7080105

AMA Style

Polzin K, Martin A, Little J, Promislow C, Jorns B, Woods J. State-of-the-Art and Advancement Paths for Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters. Aerospace. 2020; 7(8):105. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7080105

Chicago/Turabian Style

Polzin, Kurt; Martin, Adam; Little, Justin; Promislow, Curtis; Jorns, Benjamin; Woods, Joshua. 2020. "State-of-the-Art and Advancement Paths for Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters" Aerospace 7, no. 8: 105. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7080105

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