Hall Effect Thruster with Additively Manufactured Components

 uah p 17024

Docket: UAH-P-13018

Technology

Hall Effect thrusters (HET) have been utilized for space propulsion since the early ’70s. Currently, the cost to manufacture an HET is quite high, leading to an entry barrier for organizations who have a need for a HET for commercial, research, or educational purposes, but cannot afford one.

Researchers at UAH have developed a revolutionary method for manufacturing HET using additively manufactured components. Utilizing innovative additive manufacturing technology, such as 3-D printed glazed ceramic and high temperature polymers, allows for outstanding strength and reliability, while driving costs down substantially. The 3-D printed components also allow integration of functions that can simplify the fabrication of other non-printed components. Not all components are cost-effective to be 3-D printed with current technology. Some components like the anode are easily fabricated from stock rods and plates, while others like magnets are not possible to 3-D print yet.

This technology allows HETs to become commonplace in today’s research and learning environment. With the cost of commonly manufactured HETs so high, there is no chance most universities could obtain one for hands on learning. All of these additively manufactured parts are very cost effective, providing virtually any university or research organization the opportunity to have an HET in their labs. HETs are one of the simplest and most robust electric propulsion thrusters today, making them desirable for teaching and commercial application.

Applications

  • Universities
  • STEM programs
  • Research institutions
  • Aerospace industry

Advantages

  • Cost effective
  • Ease of access to previously untapped market
  • Replacement parts easily obtained
  • Low cost high specific impulse propulsion

Status

  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent status: Patent Pending