The Electrodeless Lorentz Force Thruster Experiment
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The Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster is a novel type of plasma thruster, which utilizes Rotating Magnetic Field current drive within a diverging magnetic field to form, accelerate, and eject a Field Reversed Configuration plasmoid. The ELF program is a result of a Small Business Technology Transfer grant awarded to MSNW LLC by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for the research of the revolutionary space propulsion concept represented by ELF. These grants are awarded to small businesses working in collaboration with a university, in this case, the University of Washington. The program was split into two concurrent research efforts; a numerical modeling study undertaken at the UW branch of the Plasma Science and Innovation Center, and an experimental effort taking place at the UW Plasma Dynamics Laboratory with additional support from MSNW (the latter being the subject of this dissertation). It is the aim of this dissertation is to present to the reader the necessary background information needed to understand the operation of the ELF thruster, an overview of the experimental setup, a review of the significant experimental findings, and a discussion regarding the operation and performance of the thruster.