Hi! My name is Matteo Ripoli, and I have recently joined the ZARATHUSTRA team as a PhD student. My thesis is about the study of plasma instabilities in magnetic nozzles, and I would like to give you a brief summary of my work here at the UC3M.
Magnetic nozzles are a fundamental aspect of Electrodeless Plasma Thrusters (EPTs) as they guide the plasma plume in its expansion outside of the thruster chamber. While their basic functioning can be understood through the use of classical fluidic equations, some anomalous behaviours have been experimentally observed, such as cross-field electron transport, impacting the overall efficiency of the thrusters. Empirical evidence indicates plasma oscillations as some of the main culprits of these non-classical effects: hence, the focus of my thesis.
In particular, I will start from the analytical treatment of local stability, to extrapolate in a clear and distinguishable way the nature of the main plasma waves appearing in magnetic nozzles, moving towards more complex geometries and less localized phenomena. By comparing results coming from both theoretical and numerical modelling against those provided by experimental data, some light will be shed on the aforementioned anomalous plasma effects.
My passion for this subject and the involvement in a team full of bright individuals as well as EP experts have made my experience in the ZARATHUSTRA project so far a memorable one, and I cannot wait to see what’s next.