Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Solid Propellant Pulsed Plasma Thrusters
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Prof. Andrenucci, Mariano
- Pulsed plasma thruster
Data inizio appello
Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs) represent an electric propulsion option for auxiliary mission on space vehicles, such as attitude control, station keeping etc. PPTs normally use a solid propellant (typically Teflon) which is ablated and eventually accelerated by a pulsed electric discharge. In the thesis, the behavior of a PPT is analyzed by means of heuristic models such as the slug model and the snowplow model. The snowplow model is presented in dimensionless form. Different types of energy storage circuits needed to power the pulsed current discharge are considered: capacitor bank, transmission line and pulse forming-network. For each energy storage solution the theoretical model is completed with the relevant circuit equations. The model equations is then integrated by means of numerical techniques and solutions are obtained for a variety of operating conditions. A PPT with flared and shaped electrodes was built and circuit parameters were measured. Experimental outcomes have been matched with model equation predictions. Results provided could prove useful in the design of new PPTs and in the valuation of their experimental performance.