Comparison of Plasma Magnetic Field Interactions in a Static and Dynamic Plasma Facility
Hyde, Truell W.
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Magnetic fields are a principal/widespread/promising tool/instrument in space technology design for the use in advanced propulsion concepts, shielding from radiation or to aid thermal protection during the atmospheric entry of spacecraft. Two experiments have been conducted to investigate the feasibility of using magnetic fields to reduce the heat flux onto a thermal protection system during atmospheric entry. For this purpose a modified heat flux probe with embedded permanent magnets has been exposed to a plasma jet and the structure of the bow shock in front of the probe has been observed using an emission spectroscopy setup. The intensity ratio of ionized argon lines for the experiment with and without magnets has been determined and used to analyze the magnetic field`s impact on the flow. Complementary experiments in a low power capacitively driven plasma have been conducted using micron sized particles as probes to map electric fields in a magnetically perturbed plasma. The results from both experiments are presented and analogies are drawn from both approaches. The experiments have shown that the interactions of the magnetic field with the plasma can create strong electric fields which strongly influence the ions even though the field is too weak to magnetize the ions.