The Michigan Engineer News Center

Dr. Benjamin Jorns co-author on the 2019 AIAA Electric Propulsion Best Paper Award

University of Michigan Department of Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Benjamin Jorns is co-author on the “Best Paper in Electric Propulsion” from the 2019 AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum.| Short Read

We are pleased to announce that assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL) Dr. Benjamin Jorns is a co-author on the 2019 AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum’s “Best Paper in Electric Propulsion.”

IMAGE:  Aerospace Engineering Professor Benjamin Jorns.

The prestigious award was given for “High Power Demonstration of a 100 kW Nested Hall Thruster System” (AIAA-2019-3809), which Jorns co-wrote in collaboration with lead author, Sarah Shark of Aerojet Rocketdyne and co-authors Scott J. Hall (UM, PhD, 2017), Vantage Partners, NASA Glenn Research Center; Richard R. Hofer (UM, PhD, 2004), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); and Dan M. Goebel, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The paper describes the work of the XR-100 team as they completed high-power system testing of a Nested Hall Thruster system incorporating the X3 Nested Hall Thruster, a modular Power Processing Unit, and a 5 valve Mass Flow Controller. The tests were conducted under the NASA NextSTEP program and achieved a number of milestones, including the demonstration that a 100 kW-class Nest Hall Thruster system is comparable in performance and behavior to current state-of-the-art mid-power Hall Thrusters.

EnlargeA head-on shot of the thruster firing at 50 kilowatts
IMAGE:  A head-on shot of the thruster firing at 50 kilowatts, viewed through a warped mirror in the vacuum chamber. Photo credit: NASA

Jorns is a former member of the electric propulsion group at JPL in Pasadena, California, before joining the University of Michigan faculty in 2017. His main research interests include the study of mechanisms and stability in electric propulsion systems, turbulence and non-linear processes in low-temperature plasmas, as well as developing new plasma diagnostics and investigating breakthrough forms of in-space propulsion. 

Previous awards won by Jorns include the 2019 Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program award; a 2020 Featured Article in the Physics of Plasma, the 2017 Best Paper, Electric Propulsion Category, AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum; 2018 NASA Team Achievement Award for 12.5 kW Hall Thruster Development; 2015 NASA JPL Voyager Award; and 2015 NASA Group Achievement Award. 

A head-on shot of the thruster firing at 50 kilowatts
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Kimberly Johnson
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The outside of the Ford Robotics building

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex

The facility will accelerate the future of advanced and more equitable robotics and mobility | Medium Read