Energy deposition via magnetoplasmadynamic acceleration: I. Experiment

James Gilland, Pavlos Mikellides, Darin Marriott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The expansion of a high-temperature fusion plasma through an expanding magnetic field is a process common to most fusion propulsion concepts. The propulsive efficiency of this process has a strong bearing on the overall performance of fusion propulsion. In order to simulate the expansion of a fusion plasma, a concept has been developed in which a high velocity plasma is first stagnated in a converging magnetic field to high (100s of eV) temperatures, then expanded though a converging/diverging magnetic nozzle. As a first step in constructing this experiment, a gigawatt magnetoplasmadynamic plasma accelerator was constructed to generate the initial high velocity plasma and has been characterized. The source is powered by a 1.6 MJ, 1.6 ms pulse forming network. The device has been operated with currents up to 300 kA and power levels up to 200 MWe. These values are among the highest levels reached in an magnetoplasmadynamic thruster. The device operation has been characterized by quasi-steady voltage and current measurements for helium mass flow rates from 0.5 to 27 g s-1. Probe results for downstream plasma density and electron temperature are also presented. The source behavior is examined in terms of current theories for magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015001
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

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magnetoplasmadynamics
fusion propulsion
magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters
propulsive efficiency
magnetic nozzles
fusion
plasma accelerators
expansion
energy
mass flow rate
magnetic fields
electrical measurement
plasma density
helium
electron energy
temperature
probes
pulses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Energy deposition via magnetoplasmadynamic acceleration : I. Experiment. / Gilland, James; Mikellides, Pavlos; Marriott, Darin.

In: Plasma Sources Science and Technology, Vol. 18, No. 1, 015001, 2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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