Dr. Stephan Reichel

An electric propulsion system has been assembled on the ZARM institute. This propulsion system is actuated with an electrical power up to 500W and inert gases as propellants. During the experiments the pressure inside the test chamber is between 0.1 and 1 Pa. Still at the moment the runtime is limited to only a few seconds, because of the electric heating.

The results of the experiments are used as a referents for the development of a numerically simulation solver. This solver based on the compressible Navier-Stokes-Equations and includes a magnetic volume force field, to describe the behavior of electric charged particles in thin gases.

The gases Argon and Neon were ionized inside the cyclic gap with different current magnitudes. With a larger electric current (30-50mA) the light emission and the ion density increase in the plasma flow.