Design, simulation, and testing of an electric propulsion cluster frame
Masters Thesis Presentation by J. Bek
Time: Thu 2021-05-27 10.00 - 11.00
Lecturer: Jeremy Bek
In general, electric propulsion offers very high efficiency but relatively low thrust. To remedy this, several thrusters can be assembled in a clustered configuration and operated in parallel. This requires the careful design of a frame to accommodate the individual propulsion systems. This frame must be modular to be used in different cluster sizes, and verify thermal and mechanical requirements to ensure the nominal operation of the thrusters.
The project aims to show the design process of such a frame, from preliminary modelling to the experimental study of a prototype. The presentation features an overview of the iterative design process, driven by thermal simulations, that led to the conception of a 2-thruster and 4-thruster cluster frame. In addition, the 2-thruster frame was studied mechanically with analytical calculations and simulations of simple load cases. Lastly, a prototype based on the 2-thruster frame model was assembled. The prototype was used to conduct temperature measurements while hosting two operating thrusters inside a vacuum chamber. The temperature distribution in the cluster was measured, and compared to simulation results.