Experiments and Theory for Continuous Steady Acceleration of Low Density Plasmas

  • Robert V. Hess
Conference paper


Continuous plasma acceleration has been experimentally achieved between coaxial electrodes with the use of magnetic field gradients. The axial component of the magnetic field aids in ionizing the gas by lengthening the path of the electrons for collisions, as in the Philips ionization gauge. This axial component is also instrumental in the axial plasma acceleration. It interacts with the radial current to produce a circular component of electron motion exceeding by far that of the ions particularly at low densities. The circular Hall currents, together with the radial component of the magnetic field cause an axial force for plasma acceleration. The circular currents interacting with the axial magnetic field component cause an inward confining force on the plasma. For higher densities, the whole plasma is set into rotation. The circular currents yielding acceleration and confinement of the plasma are due to centrifugal forces pushing the plasma against the magnetic field.


Magnetic Field Gradient Plasma Propulsion Axial Magnetic Field Plasma Stream Radial Current 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1961

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert V. Hess
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Langley Research CenterLangley FieldUSA

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