Analytical Investigation of an Airbreathing, Repetitively Pulsed LSC-Wave Thruster: Part 2

Borkowski, C. A.; Kaminski, D. A.; Myrabo, L. N.
May 2006
AIP Conference Proceedings;2006, Vol. 830 Issue 1, p72
Academic Journal
The prospects for an airbreathing repetitively pulsed, LSC-wave thruster are assessed from the perspective of both thrust production and radiation heat transfer rates into the vehicle undersurface. Pulsed LSC wave thrusters are characterized by high plasma temperatures (e.g., 11,000 K), moderate overpressures (a function of laser intensity), and subsonic LSC wave propagation velocities. The axisymmetric Lightcraft engine configuration examined in this study has a flat underbody impulsive surface of radius 1.25 m. Energy is supplied to the LSC wave by an annular laser beam converging uniformly from the edges of the disk (i.e., reflected towards the axis of symmetry from secondary optics positioned around the total disc circumference). The LSC wave propagates radially outward toward the edge of the disc. At some point the beam is extinguished, and a new LSC wave is initiated at the disk center. The process is repeated at a frequency that produces the desired thrust, and continued until maximum temperatures are exceeded. This “Part 2” of the present study analyzes the temperature history of a thruster surface exposed to repetitively propagating LSC waves. Two different radial positions on the thruster surface, the centerline and the outer edge, are found to be the locations of maximum and minimum temperature, respectively. The net heat flux to the surface is generally decreasing with time as the surface temperature increases. The lower emissivity case holds more promise of surviving a greater number of LSC wave cycles. © 2006 American Institute of Physics


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