Liquid-Fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster for Propelling Nanosatellites

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2019-SHAS-68727
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a liquid fed pulsed plasma thruster (LF-PPT) for use in nanosatellites. Contemporary solid/gas phase propellants have been employed with limited success in nanosatellites, stemming from low efficiencies, limited operational lifetime, contamination issues, and complex/bulky injection systems. To remediate these disadvantageous qualities and make thruster systems more applicable to nanosatelitte designs, this technology presents a novel micro LF-PPT propulsion system comprised of a pulsed plasma accelerator and a low-energy surface flashover igniter. No propellant feed mechanism is needed with this design, making it beneficial for nanosatellite application due to their volumetric constraints. Pentaphenyl trimethyl trisiloxan was used as a propellant for testing parameters of the system including igniter breakdown, plasma dynamics, and exhaust velocity.

Advantages:
-Increased efficiency
-Smaller sized propulsion system
-Increased lifetime
-"Green" propulsion system

Potential Applications:
-Nanosatellites
-CubeSats
Jun 23, 2020
Utility Patent
United States
(None)
(None)

Jun 25, 2019
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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Email: otcip@prf.org