Conceptional study of ICP plasma as a thruster

Author(s): S.M.Sadat Kiai, Mona Ghasemlou, S.H.Mahdian, A.Khalili

The more plasma thrusters are employed in space usages, the more cost-effective they must be without losing device functionality. One of the most popular kinds of these plasma thrusters are Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) torches. They have a high performance and a distinctive operation in both efficiency and power-to-mass ratio. In this paper, an ICP plasma thruster operation is simulated under the atmospheric pressure by using MHD models and FlexPDE (Partial Deferential Equation) software. Finally, having assumed steady state conditions, we have discretized linear equations. According to the initial and boundary conditions of the system, we have determined radial and axial velocity of the particles, the power dissipated, temperature, pressure, flow, flow driving force (thrust) as well specific impulse in each grid cell. To have a comprehensive study, the effect of the current source frequency and working gas flow rate on the thrust and specific impulse was investigated. Finally, some impurities in the working gas were implemented to find an optimized situation for the device.

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