Energy deposition in parallel-plate plasma accelerators

1971 9th Aerospace Sciences Meeting   unpublished
To appraise the ratio of energy deposition into kinetic and thermal modes in plasma accelerators, a parallel-plate plasma accelerator has been operated in the quasi-steady mode with current pulses in the range of 10 to 100 kiloamperes (kA), durations of the order of one millisecond, and argon mass flows up to 100 grams/sec. From photographic observations, spectroscopic measurements of velocity and electron density, and pressure measurements with a fast-rise piezoelectric transducer it is found
more » ... sducer it is found that, for currents between 50 and 90 kA, the accelerated argon plasma is supersonic with ion velocities of 5 to 6 kilometers/sec, electron densities of 4 to 7 x 10 22 m-3 , and static pressures of 0.3 to 0.5 atm. A momentum and energy balance obtained through a one-dimensional analysis shows that 85% of the input power (10 to 20 megawatts) delivered to the plasma appears in the exhaust flow. However, only 20% of the power in the exhaust ap-
doi:10.2514/6.1971-197 fatcat:n77if7ksybhkddqohgjsrvi2ru