Numerical Investigations of 2-D Magnetic Nozzle Effects on Plasma Plumes


This paper presents initial work performed in study of a novel type of magnetic nozzle that allows for three-dimensional (3-D) steering of a plasma plume. This nozzle is undergoing numerical simulations using Tech-X’s USim® software to quantify the nozzle’s capabilities. An offset 2-D magnetic nozzle has been applied to plumes of a representative pulsed inductive plasma (PIP) source with discharge parameters similar to those of Missouri S&T’s Missouri Plasmoid Experiment (MPX). Argon, hydrogen, and xenon plumes were considered. The resulting pressure, velocity, and density fields were analyzed for nozzle angles of 2° to 14°. Significant pressure was found to accumulate at the spacecraft surface around the nozzle indicating a high incidence of magnetic reattachment, even at a coil current of 3000 amps, which is currently unrealistic for in-space applications. Progression in density aligns with the pressure observations. Velocity profiles show the nozzle efficacy in steering the plume however these gains are nullified by plasma remaining attached to the magnetic field lines and returning to the spacecraft surface. These results will be compared to future experimental work.

Meeting Name

AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2020 Forum (2020: Aug. 24-28, Virtual)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

28 Aug 2020