Current Projects

Electric Field Modified Combustion

  Concentric burner  Ion current contours

bunsen flame 0 kvbunsen flame 9.1 kv

This work is part of the field called Plasma Assisted Combustion (PAC) where plasma and electromagnetic fields are used to modified by the combustion process and the flame behavior. Some of the effects include increase flame speed, increase flame height, reduced turbulence, and ultra lean combustion. This project has evolved from DC fields on a flat flame burner to electric field effects with a pentad rocket injector in a closed combustion can. It is a blend of plasma, combustion, and propulsion.

 

Microstrip Resonator Microplasma for Space Micro Propulsion 

   SRR on argon  3MT in vacuum chamber  3MT ignition

This project seeks to develop a new micro propulsion system for spacecrafts, especially small satellites like Cubesats. The thruster uses a microstrip resonator to generate a plasma, a method not yet seen in propulsion. The thruster promises low power, low mass, and low cost, all of which make it very attractive for the small satellite market. The research currently looks to understand how the resonator parameters affects the generated microplasma and how that can improve the thrust and specific impulse of a thruster.

 

Additive Manufactured Miniature Hall Thruster

imgp5549    imgp5550

This project seeks to design, built, and test a 3D printed miniature Hall thruster with a CubeSat foot print. The use of 3D printing allows more complex structures to be built, allow propellant and cooling channels to be printed directly into the thruster, and can reduce material and mass with lattice structures. Our initial prototype is build from ABS plastic using a commercial desktop 3D printer at the lab. In total there are 10 major parts of the thruster as the main body, discharge channel, and propellant distributor are build as a single piece, greatly simplifying fabrication and assembly.

High-Pressure Microplasma Regimes and Properties

This project is in collaboration with the SMAP Center and funded by the Army SMDC. The project seeks to understand the regime transition and the properties of arc, streamer, glow, and corona in a near atmospheric pressure rare gas discharge. 

Atmospheric-Pressure Microplasma Jet Effect on Biomatter

This project is part of a 5-year $20 million statewide NSF EPSCoR program to study a range of plasma science and applications. Our specific part is to study the effect of low temperature plasmas on plants, seeds, and food products for beneficial applications such as decontamination, disease treatment, fungicide, and protective coatings. 

Time-Resolved Measurements of Plasma Striations

This project is also part of the NSF EPSCoR program.

Past Projects

Atmospheric-Pressure Micro Plasma (AMP) for Nanomaterial Generation

AMP TC 75W copy    AMP deposites 2    spherical cu particle graphite pin on copper 20160519

This project seeks to understand the behavior of microplasmas at atmospheric pressures. Due to the greatly increased pressure and thus particle density compared to more conventional vacuum plasmas, some of the basic interactions changes. One example is the plasma is very collisional and gas temperatures can be close to room temperature. One aspect of this research is developing the diagnostic tools to measure the plasma properties which are required to understand the plasma behavior and interactions. Application-wise, we seek to use these microplasmas for the controlled and pre-determined synthesis of nanomaterials over large areas and understand the physics that control the material formation.