Programme Element: ARTES 5.1
Reference nr.: 13.1TT.10
Planned Tender Issue: quarter 2, 2013
The objective of the activity is to establish a set of functional requirement targeting the Electrical Propulsion application and subsequent design and bread boarding of a Flow Controller. Such Controller will integrate a MEM-based Restrictor function in addition to other MEMS elements (flow sensing/mechanical flow control/pressure sensing/isolation valves) to be defined.
Targeted Improvements: By exploiting the capability of MEMS to produce precise flow channels, dramatically improve the precision with respect to existing flow control technologies. Furthermore, to integrate MEMS based flow control and instrumentation capabilities to reduce the mass (whilst improving robustness) of Electrical Propulsion flow control hardware.
90% Mass Reduction.
Requirements for fast response thermal throttles are emerging from the development of medium power and higher power Hall Effect Thrusters (HET). Existing porous plug or bunched capillary thermal throttling devices with external heaters have inherently high thermal inertia, which inhibits fast response. Conversely for low flow applications, HET/GIE Cathodes and Neutralisers precise flow regulation is required, with minimum sensitivity to environmental conditions or inlet/outlet pressure variations.
Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has been exploited to miniaturise flow components for cold gas applications such as PRISMA.
Justification: Existing 'porous plug' type flow control elements are difficult to implement due to the degree of 'tuning' that is required and the complications in achieving repeatable and consistent performance. Existing thermal throttle devices, may not offer the degree of controllability required to manage flow control requirements of thrusters for next generation telecom platforms.
Assessment of flow control requirements for existing (SPT-100 / PPS-1350) and future (High Power Ion, HET and dual mode thrusters) electrical propulsion systems. Definition of flow controller requirements, and in particular those for the MEMs Flow restrictor element. Design and numerical simulation of MEMS based flow restrictor elements and other MEMs elements. Manufacture and evaluation of test samples for model validation. Production and test of a MEMS based flow restrictor set (covering several restrictor ratings) and other MEMs elements as required. Manufacture and test of an EM flow controller integrating a restrictor element and other MEMs elements.