Parameter influence on electron collection efficiency of a bare electrodynamic tether

  • Gangqiang Li
  • Zheng H. ZhuEmail author
Research Paper


This study develops a coupled multiphysics finite element method for the dynamic analysis of a bare flexible electrodynamic tether. Contrary to the existing methods, the new method discretizes and solves the orbital motion limited equation and the dynamic equation of an elastic flexible tether simultaneously. First, the new method is verified via comparison with the existing methods in a straight tether situation. Second, the number of tether elements, tether bending deformation, and two design parameters at the cathodic end affecting the electrical current are investigated. It is determined that the tether bending deformation and the two parameters i.e., the impedance Z T and Φ PW have a significant impact on the electron collection efficiency of an electrodynamic tether system. The results indicate that the proposed method should be applied in the refined mission analysis.


multiphysics coupled finite element electrodynamic tether electron collection efficiency 



This work was supported by Discovery Grant and Discovery Accelerate Supplement Grant of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space Science and EngineeringYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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