Liquid-Fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster for Propelling Nanosatellites

Back to all technologies
Download as PDF
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.

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

Potential Applications:
Jun 23, 2020
Utility Patent
United States

Jun 25, 2019
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
The Convergence Center
101 Foundry Drive, Suite 2500
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486