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PTFE (left) and HIPEP (right) propellant samples used in the test.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and NASA conducted experiments to understand the behavior of a high-performance electric propellant compared with a traditional propellant.

For dual-mode or multimode rocket engines, there could be one rocket engine with one propellant that can operate in the chemical mode with high thrust or in electric mode in which a very fast electric pulse ablates the surface off of the material and provides very high performance.

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