The plasma focus as a thruster
MetadataShow full item record
The need for low propellant weight, high efficiency propulsion systems is a glaring need for various space missions. This thesis presents the thrust modeling of the Dense Plasma Focus plasma motion phases. It also contrasts some of the engineering tradeoffs between the existing coaxial plasma thrusters and the Dense Plasma Focus. Modeling the thrust generated by the DPF started with seeing how far the working models for the MPD would take the DPF. The effect of pulsed compared to quasi-steady state operation is computed. There is no known experimental data regarding thrust measurements for any DPF, so the thrust is analytically calculated using experimental data for the TAMU DPF. The calculated thrust is slightly higher than the thrust predicted by the models. The developed model shows that the force generated by the DPF will produce a thrust roughly three times the thrust for the MPD for similar input currents and electrode geometry. For the TAMUDPF to compete with the MPD as a thruster, it will need to be able to fire roughly 75 more times a second than the MPD.
Hardy, Richard Lee (2004). The plasma focus as a thruster. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from