A liquid metal pulsed plasma thruster, from LEEFI to LIME-PPT
de Maag, S.
de Koster, S.A.L.
The Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) that is the subject of the present study differs from a classic PPT because it uses a unique working principle, based on an Exploding Foil Initiator (EFI). This operating principle allows the use of high-density liquid metal propellants like liquid gallium or its alloys. The propulsion system is called a LIquid MEtal Pulsed Plasma Thruster (LIME-PPT). It has been successfully proven that the EFI technology can be used to develop a PPT on metal propellants. Due to the high surface tension of the liquid metal propellants and the small scale of the propulsion system, it is challenging to feed the thruster with propellant because of the physics involved. In particular, the regeneration of the fuel bridge between anode and cathode presented a challenge and this was successfully resolved yielding a promising new propulsion system concept for nanosatellites.
To reference this document use:
Pulsed plasma thruster
Exploding foil initiator
TNO, Den Haag
8th Edition of the Space Propulsion Conference, Estoril, Portugal, 9-13 May 2022