Documents in the NTIS Technical Reports collection are the results of federally funded research. They are directly submitted to or collected by NTIS from Federal agencies for permanent accessibility to industry, academia and the public.  Before purchasing from NTIS, you may want to check for free access from (1) the issuing organization's website; (2) the U.S. Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System website; (3) the federal government Internet portal; or (4) a web search conducted using a commercial search engine such as
Accession Number N14-0003952
Title High-Speed Imaging of the First Kink Mode Instability in a Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster.
Publication Date Oct 2013
Media Count 3p
Personal Author A. Kimberlin J. A. Walker K. Polzin M. L. R. Walker S. Langendof
Abstract One of the biggest challenges to efficient magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPDT) operation is the onset of high-frequency voltage oscillations as the discharge current is increased above a threshold value. The onset regime is closely related to magnetohydrodynamic instabilities known as kink modes. This work documents direct observation of the formation and quasi-steady state behavior of an argon discharge plasma in a MPDT operating at discharge currents of 8 to 10 kA for a pulse length of approximately 4 ms. A high-speed camera images the quasi-steady-state operation of the thruster at 26,143 fps with a frame exposure time of 10 micro s. A 0.9 neutral density filter and 488-nm argon line filter with a 10-nm bandwidth are used on separate trials to capture the time evolution of the discharge plasma. Frame-by-frame analysis of the power flux incident on the CCD sensor shows both the initial discharge plasma formation process and the steady-state behavior of the discharge plasma. Light intensity levels on the order of 4-6 W/m2 indicate radial and azimuthal asymmetries in the concentration of argon plasma in the discharge channel. The plasma concentration exhibits characteristics that suggest the presence of a helical plasma column. This helical behavior has been observed in previous experiments that characterize plasma kink mode instabilities indirectly. Therefore, the direct imaging of these plasma kink modes further supports the link between MPDT onset behavior and the excitation of the magnetohydrodynamic instabilities.
Keywords Argon plasma
Charge coupled devices
Electric propulsion
Electromagnetic propulsion
High speed photography
Imaging techniques
Magnetohydrodynamic stability
Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters
Rocket engines
Vacuum chambers

Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 84 - Space Technology
Corporate Author Georgia Inst. of Tech., Atlanta.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1420
Contract Number N/A

Science and Technology Highlights

See a sampling of the latest scientific, technical and engineering information from NTIS in the NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter

Acrobat Reader Mobile    Acrobat Reader