Effect of power on PPT discharge current

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of power on pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) discharge current with respect to its peak, duration, and behavior while the power elevates in a low power range. Design/methodology/approach - A rectangular parallel-plate breech-fed PPT has been developed with a self-inductor coupling element connecting the PPT cathode to the ignitor plug cathode. The PPT has been operated in vacuum chamber at 10-6mbar and its discharge current has been recorded using a Rogowski coil while input power has been changed by means of varying the capacitor voltage at given capacitance and frequency. Findings - The analysis leads to elucidate the effects of input power on discharge current of a PPT employing a self-inductor coupling element. The power varies within a range of less than 10 to more than 50?W. The results show that current peak rises from 5 to 10?kA while discharge duration and behavior seems to be independent of power within the operating range. Additionally, utilization of the coupling element seems to change the typical oscillating behavior of PPT discharge to a more efficient behavior. Research limitations/implications - The analysis is mainly focused on breech-fed PPTs while employing a coupling element. Originality/value - The paper analyzes the influence of power on discharge current of a PPT employing a self-inductor coupling element. It clarifies the behavior of current peak, duration and behavior while power varies in a low power range. The effect of coupling element is shown to be promising. The results can be a help in design of μPPTs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17086927
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalAircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Discharge current
  • Electric propulsion
  • Electricity
  • Power
  • Power measurement
  • Pulsed plasma thruster


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