Modeling of the pulsed inductive thruster operating with ammonia propellant

Pavlos Mikellides, Nalin Ratnayake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Comparisons of numerical simulations to experimental data are used to validate the code and offer insights into the highest-to-date performance of ammonia propellant compared to other tested propellants. The time-dependent, two-dimensional, axisymmetric magnetohydrodynamics code used for the simulations is upgraded by a new two-temperature thermochemical model that provides ammonia's thermodynamic properties including nitrogen ionization up to the fifth level. The comparisons to experimental data include magnetic field waveforms at two locations and total impulse values for a range of operating energy levels and propellant mass values. The relatively good agreement of the code's predictions and experiment allows further interrogation of the pertinent plasma flow characteristics and offers a possible explanation as to the elevated efficiency demonstrated by the thruster operated with ammonia propellant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-862
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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