Modeling of Magneto-plasmadynamic, (MPD) acceleration in three dimensions

Brian Parma, Pavlos Mikellides

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Numerical modeling of Magneto-Plasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters is initiated using the recently developed three-dimensional version of the MACH code. The new version has undergone a series of verification cases to confirm mass and energy conservation and accurate computation of magnetic field diffusion. These cases also allowed analysis of grid sensitivity in the azimuthal direction. The MPD modeling addresses complete coaxial thruster geometries including extended computations to include the plume region in order to fully capture the flowfield. Steady state computations using helium propellant at 0.5g/s and current levels of 7kA, 8kA and 9kA show expected trends for thrust and voltage. Comparisons of the magnitude to the established analytic thrust relationship and to predictions of the 2-D axisymmetric version of the code show discrepancies that require further interpretation. The computational resources required to complete steady state simulations of such advanced geometries are quite taxing, so the code has been parallelized for execution using multiple supercomputer CPUs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)1563479036, 9781563479038
StatePublished - 2007
Event43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Jul 8 2007Jul 11 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference


Other43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science


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