Date of Award
Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Jason T. Cassibry
Robert A. Frederick, Jr.
Electric propulsion, Rocket engines--Thrust, Space vehicles--Propulsion systems
A new magnetically levitating low-friction test stand was developed for the purpose of ground testing micro-propulsion devices. The goal was to evaluate the performance characteristics of micro-thrusters by taking measurements during individual firings and calculating specific impulse and impulse-bit in the milli-Newton second range under atmospheric pressure. The test stand utilized a magnetic levitation controller to suspend a payload containing the necessary firing and data collection electronics. Upon firing, the levitating payload rotated (similar to a thrust balance configuration) and the lateral acceleration and angular velocity data were collected. Sensor calibration experiments, performed with a high speed camera, verified proper function of the gyroscopic sensor. Uncertainty analysis was performed on a series of data from atmospheric experiments. Uncertainty for impulse-bit measurements generally ranged from 6.8% - 8.1% and specific impulse uncertainty ranged from 10% - 23%. The micro-thrusters analyzed had an impulse-bit range from 0.1 - 2.75 mN-s and a specific impulse range from 30 - 400 seconds.
Patel, Amit, "Magnetically levitating low-friction test stand for the evaluation of micro-thrusters" (2015). Theses. 149.