Design and Testing of a Propellant Feed System for the Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator
The Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator (LiLFA) is a magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPDT) at Princeton University’s Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory. The current piston-based lithium propellant feed system, though accurate, has proved to be buggy and unreliable. Therefore, a feed system using an electromagnetic pump has been designed to replace the piston-based pump. Operation of the pump has been tested using gallium as a surrogate metal, but the pump failed to achieve the required flow rate precision. A laser interferometer-based level measurement system was designed in parallel, but due to signal noise it was not useful as an instrument. Further work remains to determine whether an electromagnetic pump would be an effective replacement for the piston-based pump.