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Electrodeless Lorentz Force thrusters - Printable Version

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Electrodeless Lorentz Force thrusters - Boson Collider - 02-13-2015

MSNW is probably better known for their fusion efforts, but the thruster above is very versatile and it's existence probably has more consequences for OA where fusion is something fairly mundane.

Essentially it is a thruster that works by creating plasmoids (self-stabilizing "smoke rings") of plasma and accelerating these electromagnetically with a rotating B-field.

It is similar to mass drivers in the sense that it accelerates a macroscopic object rather than individual ions. This means it does not need a complex nozzle as it does not have trouble with diverging exhaust. It also means that the Isp is not affected by the atomic mass of whatever gas you accelerate, which means practically any gas can be used as propellant.

At the same time it is similar to more conventional electric thrusters in that it scales down well, and is generally not too heavy for the thrust it provides.

It looks like a good alternative to mass drivers for moving asteroids using vaporized asteroid material as propellant. It could also be how early magbeams are implemented in practice since the exhaust is well collimated.

RE: Electrodeless Lorentz Force thrusters - Ithuriel - 02-14-2015

That's quite a nifty little design, and some quite promising looking performance figures, too. Distant cousin of Shiva Star, which is always interesting.

I wonder if it is possibly to apply the same approach to other kinds of plasma propulsion, as an alternative to the usual magnetic nozzle.