20-kW Bismuth Hall Thruster with Evaporative Anode

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$99,725.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
FA9300-04-M-3003
Award Id:
67720
Agency Tracking Number:
F041-198-2431
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
30981 Woodbush Road, Calumet, MI, 49913
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
003583429
Principal Investigator:
Satwik Deshmukh
Research Engineer
(906) 337-4024
satwik_deshmukh@yahoo.com
Business Contact:
Lyon King
President
(906) 487-2683
lbking@mtu.edu
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
High-power Hall thrusters operating at high thrust-to-power ratios will consume and emit unprecedented amounts of xenon propellant. The inherent costs associated with xenon use have significantly hindered development of such devices. Metallic propellants, specifically bismuth, have recently emerged as potentially higher-performing, lower-cost alternatives to xenon. When used in a Hall thruster, bismuth will likely enable improved thruster efficiency, which will translate to lower spacecraft inert mass. Furthermore, the use of bismuth will reduce mission propellant costs by a factor of 200 and may reduce the cost of developing high-power thrusters by a factor of 10. As bismuth is a solid at STP, an energy-efficient means of producing and controlling bismuth vapors is a prerequisite to Hall thruster use. In this document, a unique method of propellant vapor control is proposed and a plan-of-work is described to develop a 20-kW bismuth Hall thruster. The metal propellant will be maintained in a liquid state within the primary anode using waste heat dissipation within the thruster. The propellant supply rate will be controlled through a power-sharing shim electrode, which intercepts a fraction of the plasma discharge current, thereby regulating the liquid metal temperature within the primary anode and hence the evaporation rate.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites


SBA logo

Department of Agriculture logo

Department of Commerce logo

Department of Defense logo

Department of Education logo

Department of Energy logo

Department of Health and Human Services logo

Department of Homeland Security logo

Department of Transportation logo

Enviromental Protection Agency logo

National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo

National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government