The flow characteristics inside magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) plasma generators and seawater thrusters are analyzed and are compared using a three-dimensional computer model that solves the governing partial differential equations for fluid flow and electrical fields. Calculations have been performed for a Faraday plasma generator and for a continuous electrode seawater thruster. The results of the calculations show that the effects caused by the interaction of the MHD forces with the fluid flow are strongly manifested in the case of the MHD generator as compared to the flow development in the MHD thruster. The existence of velocity overshoots over the sidewalls confirm previously published results for MHD generators with strong MHD interaction. For MHD thrusters, the velocity profile is found to be slightly flatter over the sidewall as compared to that over the electrode wall. As a result, distinct enhancement of the skin friction exists over the sidewalls of MHD generators in comparison to that of MHD thrusters. Plots of velocity profiles and skin friction distributions are presented to illustrate and compare the flow development in MHD generators and thrusters.

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