Modeling and performance analysis of the pulsed inductive thruster

Pavlos Mikellides, Chris Neilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Numerical modeling of the pulsed inductive thruster exercising a time-dependent, two-dimensional, axisymmetric magnetohydrodynamics code provides bilateral validation of the thruster's measured performance and the code's capability of capturing the pertinent physical processes. Computed impulse values for helium and argon propellants demonstrate excellent correlation to the experimental data for a range of energy levels and propellant-mass values. Quantitative energy deposition analysis confirms the thruster's approximately constant-efficiency operation and captures the experimentally observed, critical-mass phenomenon. An idealized model produced a simple impulse expression for this energy range that expands the validity of the aforementioned insights to other propellants and corroborates the thruster's singular operation with ammonia propellant The simple impulse expression produced compares well with experimental trends and can be used to guide design and optimization of operating conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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