For many years, rocket engine have used the liquid and solid propellant as their main source to power the rocket engine . They are used widely as they are the most reliable and cost effective compared to other types of medium. Now , in this new era , the space exploration (aerospace) engineering is trying their best to find a new type of innovation to make us go further in space . One of the method that is proposed and is currently under research is the electromagnetic rocket propulsion (EMP). Electromagnetic propulsion is one of the proposed method that lacks any kind of propellant . The rocket of spacecraft would be jolted or powered by electromagnetic magnets , and it could take us further away to the galaxies theoretically . This electromagnets behave unusual when it is cooled at an extremely low temperature . At its first few nano to micro seconds after the electricity power is applied to them , they will be vibrating .
Figure : the electromagnetic spectrum . It show the relationship of the wavelength and the frequency it emits
The electromagnetic propulsion is not created yet . It is under extensive research by NASA . But it shows great progress , if this research turns to be a success, It can maybe change the world to a better place and can helps us explore the universe even more .
Figure : Electromagnetic Drive Thruster
The principle behind the Electromagnetic Propulsion is the accelerating of an object or particle by the utilization of a flowing electrical current and the magnetic fields . The used of the electrical current is to either to create a magnetic field that opposed to the original magnetic field or to charge a fluid so that it can be repelled.
The repulsing force due to the pushing of the conductor in a direction perpendicular to the conductor and the magnetic field is designed so that we can take advantage from the phenomenon . This pushing is due to the phenomenon of an electromagnetic force that is known as the Lorentz force .
The term electromagnetic propulsion can be defined as individually as : 1)Electromagnetic : Using electric current to create a magnetic field . 2)Propulsion : The process of propelling some machine or an object . Basically , Electromagnetic propulsion can be defined as the process of propelling a machine system using electric current to create a magnetic field .
What is electromagnet ?
Electromagnet is a type of magnet , an electric current is used to produced this magnets magnetic field . This magnet differ than the ordinary magnet because , its magnetic field only exits when the current is turned on .
Figure : An simple electromagnet system
What is the advantages of this electromagnet over the ordinary/conventional magnet ? The main advantages of it is that the magnetic field strength can be change according to the electric power that we used .
Figure : The basic solenoid design of the electromagnetic propulsion
The improvement of superconductors and rapidly high power solid state switched is currently being work bo the US Department of Energy (DOE) . The idea of using a super cooled electromagnets that vibrates 400,000 times per second for a space rocket propulsion is being considered by the DOE . Theoretically , if the rapid speed of the pulse can be directed in one direction , an efficient rocket propulsion system can be created with its ability to achieve speed on the order of 1% of the speed of light .
Pulsed Electromagnetic Plasma Thruster Development.Increase the performance capacity of a system and reducing its total system mass is the main goals in electric propulsion. An approach of investigating on the performance improvement to thrust efficiency can be done in order to achieve the desired goal . The increase in thrust efficiency can be utilized in order to reduce total system mass through the reducing in the mass of the propellant .
Figure : Laboratory thruster mounted on the Pulsed Plasma Thruster stand in VF3 at NASA
A lot of test have been done in NASA to improve the thrust efficiency of the electromagnetic propulsion plasma thruster.
Figure : The configuration of the thrust efficiency magnitude for various energy level that range in between 50 and 700 J