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Mechanism analysis and numerical simulation of air-breathing model for laser propulsion

GONG PingCorresponding author: GONG PingE-mail address: gongp@mail.ustc.edu.cn, TANG Zhi-ping s of CAS, Department of Modern Mechanics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei230026, Anhui, China)  
The mechanism of air-breathing mode has been analyzed systematically and the analytic formulas for the momentum coupling coefficients based on point explosion theory have been derived and improved by considering the restraint of the reflector. In the numerical simulation, a new method that combine the self-similarity solution for point-explosion at the first stage and the high resolution PPM grids at the second stage, has been applied to calculate the high-temperature plasma flow field generated by the focused laser beam. The simulated results show that the efficiency of laser propulsion, such as thrust, total impulse, momentum coupling coefficient etc are strongly related to the geometry of the reflector and the power of the laser beam. A calculated example for a single laser pulse of 83J gives the momentum coupling coefficient of 246μN·s/J, which is about 10.3% higher than the experimental result of W.O.Schall et al in Germany.
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