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Chin. Phys. B, 2013, Vol. 22(5): 050301    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/22/5/050301
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Prediction and experimental measurement of electromagnetic thrust generated by a microwave thruster system

Yang Juan, Wang Yu-Quan, Ma Yan-Jie, Li Peng-Fei, Yang Le, Wang Yang, He Guo-Qiang
College of Astronautics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an 710072, China
Abstract  A microwave thruster system that can convert microwave power directly to thrust without gas propellant is developed. In the system, a cylindrical tapered resonance cavity and a magnetron microwave source are used respectively as the thruster cavity and the energy source to generate the electromagnetic wave. The wave is radiated into and then reflected from the cavity to form a pure standing wave with a non-uniform electromagnetic pressure distribution. Consequently, a net electromagnetic thrust exerted on the axis of the thruster cavity appears, which is demonstrated through theoretical calculation based on the electromagnetic theory. The net electromagnetic thrust is also experimentally measured in the range from 70 mN to 720 mN when the microwave output power is from 80 W to 2500W.
Keywords:  electromagnetic waves      Maxwell stress tensor      electromagnetic processes and properties  
Received:  16 March 2012      Revised:  29 December 2012      Accepted manuscript online: 
PACS:  03.50.De (Classical electromagnetism, Maxwell equations)  
  41.20.Jb (Electromagnetic wave propagation; radiowave propagation)  
  13.40.-f (Electromagnetic processes and properties)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 90716019).
Corresponding Authors:  Yang Juan     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Yang Juan, Wang Yu-Quan, Ma Yan-Jie, Li Peng-Fei, Yang Le, Wang Yang, He Guo-Qiang Prediction and experimental measurement of electromagnetic thrust generated by a microwave thruster system 2013 Chin. Phys. B 22 050301

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