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Mechanism of Plasma Ignition in Electrothermal-chemical Launcher



Plasma injector is a core component in an electrothermal-chemical (ETC) launcher. Its work state directly influences the whole system's launch efficiency. The interaction between plasma and propellants is a very important mechanism in ETC technology development. Based on the transient radiation model and open air plasma jet experiment, the mechanism of plasma ignition process is analyzed. Results show that the surface of local solid propellant grain can quickly achieve the ignition point by early transient plasma radiation. But it needs enough time to maintain the high energy flow to make self-sustained combustion of solid propellant grains. Because of the limited space characteristics of transient radiation, the near-field propellant grains can gain enough energy by the strong transient radiation to be ignited and achieve self-sustained combustion. The far-field propellant grains mainly gain the energy by the activated particles in plasma jet to be ignited and self-sustained combustion. Experiments show that plasma jet always has a high flow velocity in the area of the cartridge. Compared with conventional ignition, the solid propellant grains can obtain more quick and uniform ignition and self-sustained combustion by this kind of ablation controlled arc (ACA) plasma via energy skin effect of propellant grains, pre-heat temperature mechanism and high efficient jet diffusion.

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