Ion engine

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Ion Engine |

An ion engine is one of the various types of space propulsion specifically the electric type. It uses a beam of ions for propulsion. The method for acceleratingions can be many, but all the designs use the advantage of mass-charge ratio of ions to accelerate at very high speeds using an electric field. Thanks to this, the ion engines can achieve high specificimpulse reducing the amount of mass needed, but increasing the amount of power required compared with conventional rockets. Ion engines can develop an greater efficiency than rocket engines, liquidfuel, but have low accelerations.

In its simplest design, an electrostatic ion engine mercury or xenon are ionized by electron exposure from a cathode. The ions are accelerated by passing themthrough screens loaded.

Acceleration uses a very small mass, with a specific impulse. In the decade from 1970 to 1980, research began using cesium ion propulsion but it was found that erosion occurred onthe grids, so that was first used mainly noble gases.

An important factor is the amount of energy or power needed to make the enginework most because of the ionization of the material, but mainlyto accelerate the ions to very high speeds to have a useful effect. Common output speeds of 30,000 are usually m / s, which is much higher than the 3000-4500 m / s to obtain a conventional rocket.In the ion engines, most of the energy is lost in the output at high speeds and affects the levels of force. As a result, the total force obtained from a certain amount of energy is inverselyproportional to the output speed. Therefore, increasing the amount of movement of ions out of ten times would need to spend a hundred times more energy. Consequently, sacrifices between specific impulse andforce, both inversely proportional to a certain amount of energy.
An ion engine using a particle accelerator can be designed to achieve an exit velocity near the speed of light. This will provide...