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Chin. Phys. B, 2020, Vol. 29(11): 115201    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ab9f2a

Investigation on plasma structure evolution and discharge characteristics of a single-stage planar-pulsed-inductive accelerator under ambient fill condition

Xiao-Kang Li(李小康), Bi-Xuan Che(车碧轩), Mou-Sen Cheng(程谋森), Da-Wei Guo(郭大伟), Mo-Ge Wang(王墨戈), and Yun-Tian Yang(杨云天)
College of Aerospace Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China

The physical process of a single-stage planar-pulsed-inductive accelerator is investigated. Measurements include the waveforms of circuit current, capacitor voltage, plasma radiation intensity, and temporal plasma structure photos captured by a high-speed camera. Experiments are conducted under static ambient fill condition using argon as propellant. Varied values of capacitor voltage and gas pressure are compared. Further discussions quantify the EM interaction between circuit and plasma, as well as their energy deposition and current sheet acceleration. Based on the results of experiments, physical mechanisms of the initial ionization phase and the following acceleration phase are analyzed theoretically.

Keywords:  electric propulsion      pulsed-inductive thruster      discharge characteristics      plasma structure  
Received:  15 May 2020      Revised:  09 June 2020      Accepted manuscript online:  23 June 2020
Fund: the Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 2018JJ3592).
Corresponding Authors:  Corresponding author. E-mail:   

Cite this article: 

Xiao-Kang Li(李小康), Bi-Xuan Che(车碧轩), Mou-Sen Cheng(程谋森), Da-Wei Guo(郭大伟), Mo-Ge Wang(王墨戈), and Yun-Tian Yang(杨云天) Investigation on plasma structure evolution and discharge characteristics of a single-stage planar-pulsed-inductive accelerator under ambient fill condition 2020 Chin. Phys. B 29 115201

Fig. 1.  

Schematic diagram of experiment setups.

Fig. 2.  

Configuration of drive-coil.

Fig. 3.  

Arrange of capacitors.

Fig. 4.  

Circuit schematic diagram of pulse-forming network (PFN).

Drive-coil inductance Total capacitance Parasitic resistance Parasitic inductance
LC/nH C/μF R0/mΩ L0/nH
378 8 13 123
Table 1.  

Circuit parameters of pulse-forming network.

Fig. 5.  

Long exposure photograph of the discharge process.

Fig. 6.  

Representative frames of high speed photographing.

Fig. 7.  

Capacitor voltage V.

Fig. 8.  

Circuit current IC.

Fig. 9.  

Plasma radiation intensity UR.

Fig. 10.  

Lumped elementary circuit model of a pulsed-inductive accelerator.

Fig. 11.  

Comparisons of derived parameters: (a) exhausting speed vt, (b) Lovberg ratio L*, (c) energy deposition ratio ε.

Fig. 12.  

Comparison of initial gas ionization mode: (a) a compact current sheet leads to snowplow ionization mode; (b) a loosen current sheet leads to diffusive ionization mode.

Fig. 13.  

Comparisons of current sheet acceleration state: (a) current sheet still resorts near drive-coil when the circuit current has already inversed; (b) current sheet has already decoupled with drive-coil before the circuit current peaks; (c) current sheet just decouples with drive-coil when circuit current inverses.

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