Pulsed Cathodic Arc Thruster Cathode Spot Motion and Erosion Pattern Quantification

Neumann Space is developing an electric propulsion system that uses plasma from a solid conductive cathode as the propellant source.

Efficient propellant utilisation requires efficient cathode erosion, where the cathode spots erode the cathode working face to produce an azimuthally smooth pattern, while keeping the working face as close to perpendicular to the thrust vector as possible.

This project shall determine the cathode spot motion, and associated erosion pattern, of the arc discharge across a range of parameters, which shall help to inform future design choices.


Project Leader:
Dr Patrick Neumann, Neumann Space