Resistojet thruster with a power system based on supercapacitors
Abstract: This paper presents research into a resistojet model that can be powered by supercapacitors for satellite propulsion applications. The performance of the system, calculated including a preliminary study of mass and power budget, shows that this solution has potential for a certain range of space missions. The main problem when designing a pulsed resistojet is the compromise between the thermal capacity of the resistojet and the heat transfer efficiency of the device. When the heater is used in pulsed mode, it should have low mass and thermal capacity in order to reduce the energy required to heat the devices. On the other hand, the main technical restriction in resistojet thrusters is heat transfer due to the laminar regime of the flow in the heater. The heat transfer area should be as large as possible, but the mass of the device limits any such increase in area. In this research several design options were considered in an attempt to find the optimal solution. After research on the oscillating element and porous heater, capillary tubes directly heated by the current were determined to be the most effective solution. A power supply based on supercapacitors was constructed. It consists of 30 supercapacitors of 300 F each, connected to deliver 70 V of voltage, 10F of total capacitance and maximum peak power of 5 kW. Research for three different gases – ammonia, propane and butane – was conducted and the results are presented in this paper.
Keywords: resistojet, thruster, satellite
Area: Mechanics, Automatics and Robotics
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.