A time-dependent, two-dimensional, axisymmetric magnetohydrodynamics code is employed to model, validate and extend the experimentally-limited performance characteristics of a gigawatt-level plasma source that utilized magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) acceleration for gas energy deposition. Accurate modeling required an upgrade of the code's circuit routines to properly capture the pulse-forming-network current waveform which also serves as the primary variable for validation. Comparisons with experimentally deduced current waveforms were in good agreement for all power levels. The simulations also produced values for the plasma voltage which were compared with the measured voltage across the electrodes. The trend agreement was encouraging while the magnitude of the discrepancy is approximately constant and interpreted as a representation of the electrode fall voltage. Force computations captured the expected electromagnetic acceleration trends and serve as further verification. They also allow examination of the device as a very high power MPD thruster operating at power levels in excess of 180 MW. The computations offer insights into the plasma's characteristics at different power levels through two-dimensional distributions of pertinent parameters and identify design guidelines for effective stagnation temperature values as a function of the mass-flow rate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics