A prototype RF plasma micro-thruster has been investigated numerically and experimentally. The experimental results were obtained on a thrust stand capable of micro-Newton resolution. Thrust and mass flow (hence specific impulse) were measured for an argon propellant at mass flows ranging from 0.4 to 5.5 mg/s. An increase over the cold gas thrust of up to 20% was observed for a discharge frequency of 100 MHz and an input power of 77 W. Propulsive efficiency was seen to increase both experimentally and numerically for increasing mass flow and decreasing discharge frequency.


Copyright (2008) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in (J.D. Olliges, A.D. Ketsdever, W.B. Stein, A.A. Alexeenko, and I. Hrbud, “Experimental and Computational Investigation of an RF Plasma Micro-Thruster,” 26th International Symposium on Rarefied Gas Dynamics, Kyoto, Japan, July 20-25, 2008.) and may be found at (http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3076596).The following article has been submitted to/accepted by [American Institute of Physics]. After it is published, it will be found at (http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3076596). Copyright (2008) J.D. Olliges, A.D. Ketsdever, W.B. Stein, A.A. Alexeenko, and I. Hrbud. This article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Date of this Version




Included in

Engineering Commons