Magnetohydrodynamic Generator Test 90

We did MHD firing test 90 last night. We have been getting a lot of fouling of the electrodes. Carbon builds up on them during the run and prevents current flow. In this experiment we coated the electrodes with an ablative fluid before firing. The idea was that it would cause the initial carbon to break off during the run leaving a clean electrode. It only needed to work for 1/5 of a second to see it in the data. OK, yes, this means we sprayed WD-40 into the unit before we firing the rocket engine. WD-40 fixes everything right?  IT WORKED!

We got much better power output. A new solution always leads to a new problem and this one is no different. The clogging carbon buildup was also protecting the electrode array. Without the buildup the electrodes were pretty chewed through.  The spiraling fragment you can see at the bottom of the picture is a piece of electrode number 1 moving at 83 mph (we measured it with the camera frame rate).

Tags: ,

One Response to “Magnetohydrodynamic Generator Test 90”

  1. [...] A report from JP Aerospace on the latest test of their MHD propulsion system, which would be used to power their airships to orbit (see writeup pdf): Magnetohydrodynamic Generator Test 90 – JP Aerospace Blog. [...]