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Spark generation for miniature plasma thruster. (Need help, new member)

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    Had a bad day at work and my design for a spark generator failed, so I'm asking for help.

    My requirements:
    To create a spark in a hard vacuum environment (10^-6 mbarr)
    To be ultra miniature (as a guideline about 1cm^3 is the space available)
    Available power lines is 4.4v at 0.22A or 700V at 50mA
    To be highly repeatable and fast acting (repetition rate 1Hz) should perform about 1e6+ repetitions
    Power usage to be as low as possible (preferably under 1W)

    My design:
    A lever trigger system held at 700V, when it comes into contact with a ground plate it creates a spark. The concept works fine but the 'movement' of the lever arm using a spring and electromagnet failed on two accounts 1) the current and voltage requirement of the electromagnet went over the set power budget 2) the spring was too stiff (my fault due to bad design)

    If anyone has alternative solutions to either the spark generation method or a way in moving the lever arm, it would be great to hear them as I'm running out of ideas. Cheers guys and girls.

    Have fun

  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2010 #2
    Can you use a small relay instead of your own electromagnet contraption?
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