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Robust Ceramics for Hall-Effect Thruster Discharge Channels

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0599
Agency Tracking Number: 206073
Amount: $124,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z10
Solicitation Number: SBIR_20_P1
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-31
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-03-01
Small Business Information
7800 South Nogales Highway
Tucson, AZ 85756-9645
United States
DUNS: 066066874
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Zachary Wing
 (520) 547-0861
Business Contact
 Zachary Wing
Phone: (520) 547-0861
Research Institution

Electric propulsion for space is attractive for NASA, military, and commercial missions. NASA has identified manufacturing issues that have resulted in significant costs to achieve performance repeatability and hardware reliability. Without addressing the process and materials issues, both the production of existing thrusters and the development of new thrusters will continue to face the prospect of high costs.Current Hall effect thrusters make use of hexagonal boron nitride (BN) for the discharge channel in which plasma is generated and accelerated. Current materials have exhibited substantial lot-to-lot variability. Such material property inconsistencies have thus necessitated costly thruster design features to improve survivability margins against mechanical and thermal shock.ACM has identified a key approach to improve the lot-to-lot consistency of BN based channel materials. ACMrsquo;s PAL process technology will produce a highly uniform microstructure after hot pressing. This will produce a high performance, repeatable BN material that is ideal for Hall effect thruster channels.

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