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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Uri Shumlak
A A 405
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Aerospace Plasmas

Development of introductory electromagnetic theory including Lorentz force and Maxwell's equations. Plasma description. Single particle motions and drifts in magnetic and electric fields. Derivation of plasma fluid model. Introduction to plasma waves. Applications to electric propulsion, magnetic confinement, and plasmas in space and Earth's outer atmosphere. Prerequisite: PHYS 123; MATH 324. Offered: A.

Class description

This course provides an introduction to plasma science. Plasma science is a growing field of scientific research and engineering in the Aerospace field. Some important current areas of research are electric propulsion, controlled fusion, plasma material deposition, and plasma processing. The course introduces and applies concepts in plasma physics which cover various phenomena occurring in fusion plasmas and plasmas in the outer regions of Earth's atmosphere. Electric thrusters and plasma propulsion are primary applications covered in the course.

Student learning goals

1. Students will be able to calculate the electric and magnetic fields for a given electrode and current geometry.

2. Students will be able to predict charged particle motion in the presence of electric and magnetic fields.

3. Students will be able to apply the single fluid magnetohydrodynamic plasma model to solve plasma physics problems.

4. Students will be able to design mission specific electric plasma thrusters.

5. Students will be able to explain the basic principles of magnetic confinement fusion.

General method of instruction

lecture, individual and group homework, in-class demonstrations

Recommended preparation

Although the course will be self-contained regarding plasma science, students are expected to have some background in basic engineering physics and math.

Class assignments and grading

problem sets and project proposal

Homework 30% Midterm 35% Final 35%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Homepage
Last Update by Uri Shumlak
Date: 09/24/2013