High precision micro-impulse measurements for micro-thrusters based on torsional pendulum and sympathetic resonance techniques

Zhang, Daixian; Wu, Jianjun; Zhang, Rui; Zhang, Hua; He, Zhen
December 2013
Review of Scientific Instruments;Dec2013, Vol. 84 Issue 12, p125113
Academic Journal
A sympathetic resonance theory is analyzed and applied in a newly developed torsional pendulum to measure the micro-impulse produced by a μN s-class ablative pulsed plasma thruster. According to theoretical analysis on the dynamical behaviors of a torsional pendulum, the resonance amplification effect of micro-signals is presented. In addition, a new micro-impulse measurement method based on sympathetic resonance theory is proposed as an improvement of the original single pulse measurement method. In contrast with the single pulse measurement method, the advantages of sympathetic resonance method are significant. First, because of the magnification of vibration signals due to resonance processes, measurement precision for the sympathetic resonance method becomes higher especially in reducing reading error. With an increase in peak number, the relative errors induced by readout of voltage signals decrease to approximately ±1.9% for the sympathetic resonance mode, whereas the relative error in single pulse mode is estimated as ±13.4%. Besides, by using the resonance amplification effect the sympathetic resonance method makes it possible to measure an extremely low-impulse beyond the resolution of a thrust stand without redesigning or purchasing a new one. Moreover, because of the simple operational principle and structure the sympathetic resonance method is much more convenient and inexpensive to be implemented than other high-precision methods. Finally, the sympathetic resonance measurement method can also be applied in other thrust stands to improve further the ability to measure the low-impulse bits.


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