Faculty Advisor

Blandino, John J.


The goal of this project was to design, build, and test a radio-frequency electrothermal thruster (RFET) to operate on argon over a power range of 400-600 W at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. The RFET was designed for testing in a vacuum chamber operating in the millitorr range. The RFET required a complete redesign from a previously fabricated model. An impedance matching network was designed and constructed to maximize the power delivered to the discharge. The matching network, installed in the vacuum chamber, was designed to allow tuning by use of a motor-driven variable capacitor. A stand was designed and constructed to secure the RFET and matching network within the vacuum chamber. This paper reports on the design, fabrication, assembly, and test of the RFET and matching network.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2016


Aerospace Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering