AF-MPD Thruster Database


The applied-field magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (AF-MPDT) database is a collection of performance data available in the literature spanning back to the 1960s. This database includes all measurements for which each of the following parameters is known: thrust, electrode current, electrode voltage, magnetic field strength, propellant, mass flow rate, background pressure, inner and outer solenoid radii, and the electrode geometry as indicated by the figure for each of three different electrode configurations.

Different AF-MPDT geometries.



Field explanation

T_totmeasured total thrust in N
Jdischarge current in A
B_Aapplied magnetic field strength at the tip of the cathode in T, except for Tahara in JPP-1995-11-2 (at anode throat, where r=ra0) and Fradkin in Fradkin_MHD_Symposium (where it is at the anode exit plane)
mdotmass flow rate in mg/s
errorthrust error in N
Ramaximum radius of the anode in mm
Rcradius of the cathode in mm
Raminimum radius of the anode in mm
Lalength of the anode, cylindrical: backplate to exit plane, frustum: from where it’s smallest to where it’s biggest, in mm
Rbiinner solenoid radius in mm
Rboouter solenoid radius in mm
Lc_alength of the cathode, cylindrical: from backplate, frustum: from where the anode is smallest or backplate if equivalent, in mm
Vdischarge voltage in V
Pbbackground pressure in mTorr
sourceabbreviated bibliography for where the data was found
thrustershort name for thruster
A_matanode material
C_matcathode material
config{cyl, cone, cylcone} cylinder, cone, or cylinder followed by cone to exit
l_stIf cylcone config, this is the length of the straight or converging section in mm of anode preceding the flare based on mass injection location. Else, NA except in the 3kW_Nagoya thruster (see notes) which is a cone followed by a cylinder.


The notes can be found here.

If the magnetic field strength at the anode exit plane is given, it is included in the notes. Otherwise, make assumptions based on the geometry of the solenoid.

I have not included thrusters using mixed propellants or thrusters with atypical or non-coaxial geometries, including the hybrid plasma thruster (HPT), rectangular thrusters, and permanent magnet thrusters.

Other information worth including in future versions would be:

  • more electrode and magnet geometry (cathode tip shape, axial magnet position)
  • propellant injection location
  • variant configurations (permanent magnet, rectangular, HPT)

List of references

Entire database + notes