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SBIR/STTR

HIGH ENERGY REPLACEMENT FOR TEFLON PROPELLANT IN PULSED PLASMA THRUSTERS, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

HIGH ENERGY REPLACEMENT FOR TEFLON PROPELLANT IN PULSED PLASMA THRUSTERS, Phase I
This program will utilize a well-characterized Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) to test experimental high-energy extinguishable solid propellants (HE), instead of standard Teflon propellant. ET Materials LLC originally formulated this material as an environmentally friendly automotive airbag inflator propellant. In preliminary testing, the material was found suitable for use in PPTs. Electric arc discharges of the PPT apparently causes only thin surface layers of the energetic propellant to be ignited, without uncontrolled propagation to underlying propellant. The current Isp of these propellants is ~225 sec. but newer formulations appear to be reaching an Isp of 245 sec., essentially that of ammonium perchlorate propellants. The relative thrust contribution from plasma ionization and thermal expansion of non-ionized combustion gases will determine how much the energetic fuel enhances PPT performance. All testing and evaluation of the HE propellant will be conducted using the Aerojet Modular Test Unit Pulsed Plasma Thruster. This modular test unit was specifically designed to evaluate new flight configurations of the EO-1 PPT design. Using the high-energy propellant in the EO-1 PPT, should increase dramatically increase. This program will provide NASA with directly applicable results for a high-energy drop-in alternative propellant for the EO-1 PPT, providing new mission capabilities. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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