Control and Analysis of a JxB Pump Propellant Feed System for the Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator
The Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator (LiLFA) is an applied-field magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (AF-MPDT) within Princeton University’s Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory. Lithium propellant is fed to the thruster via an electromagnetic pump system. Tests of the pump using gallium were completed in order to measure possible mass flow rates and to determine whether or not desired precision could be achieved. In order to measure these flow rates, an induction probe measurement technique was employed in order to record the depletion of propellant in the feed system reservoir. Upon verification of successful pump operation and flow rate measurement, a new vacuum-sealed feed system was fabricated in order to accommodate lithium’s corrosive and reactive properties. Current testing of the lithium setup is proving faulty. Further experimentation will be required in order to ensure robustness of the feed system and to determine whether or not success with lithium propellant is possible with the current setup.