Generation of supersonic plasma flows using an applied-field MPD arcjet and ICRF heating

M. Inutake, A. Ando, K. Hattori, H. Tobari, T. Makita, M. Shibata, Y. Kasashima, T. Komagome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A quasi-steady, supersonic plasma flow was produced by using a magneto-plasma-dynamic arcjet (MPDA) in a divergent magnetic nozzle. The ion acoustic Mach number, Mi, evaluated by spectroscopy and Mach probe measurement, was unity in the uniform field near the MPDA and reached almost 3 in the divergent magnetic nozzle. In the case of a subsonic flow near the exit of the MPDA, a magnetic Laval nozzle was effective in converting it to a supersonic flow with Mi ≤ 1 at the throat. We heated ions of the fast-flowing plasma by ICRF (ion-cyclotron-range of frequency) in a magnetic beach field. The increased thermal energy was converted to flow energy as it passed through the divergent magnetic nozzle in accordance with the constant magnetic moment. We were able to successfully control the plasma flow with a wide range of densities for basic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) studies and space thruster applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS10
Pages (from-to)A121-A134
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number5 A
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May 1


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