P4_3 Magnetospheric Energy Harvest

George Thomas, Yasum Abbas, Danae King, Rhys Williams


It has been known since Michael Faraday’s work on electromagnetism that passing a conductor through a magnetic field generates an electromotive force (EMF) across that conductor. This principle is applied to a conductor falling through the Earth’s magnetosphere, which is modelled as a dipole field. In this report, the possibility of such a system powering the electronics of a satellite in a circular orbit is explored. A polar orbit (PO) is considered in the calculation of an EMF, which is induced across a theoretical 10 m long conducting rod. The EMF for the PO varies with latitude and so is only considered over the poles, where the B field direction is assumed to be constant. The plausibility of using this system as a power source for a satellite is discussed on the basis of the EMF values. The calculated EMF value for the PO is p = 4.0 V, which is time varying over a small range of EMF values. The altitude used for the PO is 400 km.

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