A Methane Arcjet Development

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 20054
Amount: $375,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1994
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
19 Kearney Road, Needham, MA, 02194
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 V. J. Hruby
 (617) 449-9255
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
A methane (CH4) electrothermal arcjet holds the potential of increased performance and longer lifetime than traditional ammonia or hydrazine arcjets. The potential drawback of CH4 arcjet is formation of soot that could cause spacecraft contamination and decreased performance. In the Phase I program we will determine the extent of soot formation and explore ways to reduce it. This will be done by testing four nozzle/anode geometries in a 2kW methane arcjet. The plasma expansion rate and nozzle temperature distribution are the major test parmeters. Following the parametric tests, an eight hour duration test will be conducted with a selected anode geometry at a selected operating condition. Additionally, we will construct and test a new cathode that has the potential for unlimited lifetime and reduced cathode voltage drops, which is based on previous work with CH4 plasmas. The experimental program will be supported by concurrent numerical analysis of soot formation. This work will be performed by a subcontractor - Aerodyne Research, Inc.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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