Compact Induced Current Hall Thruster
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
This Phase II STTR program is proposed to investigate a new kind of electric thruster, an inductively-driven Hall thruster. In contrast to conventional Hall thrusters, this device has the big advantage of needing no cathode. We expect it to be more efficient, because the inefficiencies from electrode voltage drops have been eliminated, and it can also be smaller, because the cathode that cannot be scaled down has been removed. It is also quite different from existing inductive thrusters, because it has a magnetic core and a bias field, has much longer-duration pulses, runs at lower ionization and can be made much smaller. In Phase I, a simple experiment was done to show that one can make a discharge in the regime of interest, and a preliminary design for a better device was developed. Now we are proposing to build and test that thruster in Phase II, to modify computer models of Hall thrusters to optimize it, and then to design a better version, based on the experiments and the simulations. Finally the better design will be fabricated and tested. We think this new approach will be a major advance in electric thruster technology.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Busek Co., Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760
Number of Employees:
WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
Francois D. Lemire
Nonprofit college or university