erik mueller michael white n.
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Microthruster Test Platform Design Presentation II

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Erik Mueller Michael White. Microthruster Test Platform Design Presentation II. Contents. Introduction Problem Solution Sensing Frame Testing Q&A Sources. Microthrusters. Microthrusters produce <1N of thrust ( mN range) Various propulsion systems (standard, mono, ion drive).

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Presentation Transcript
  • Introduction
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Sensing
  • Frame
  • Testing
  • Q&A
  • Sources
  • Microthrusters produce <1N of thrust (mN range)
  • Various propulsion systems (standard, mono, ion drive)
the problem
The Problem
  • Thruster and forces involved are minute
  • Must be rugged and durable
  • Modular design preferable
our solution
Our Solution
  • Sensing is done through direct thrust measurement using a strain gauge sensor.
  • Thruster assembly is suspended atop a pole
  • Secondary force measurement using indirect thrust plume measurement.
system overview1
System Overview

Indirect Thrust Plume Pendulum Sensor

FM Modulator


Fire Control

Strain Gauge

Amplifier Circuit


Lab View


  • Single pole for the thruster support, grooved bracket w/ clamping system.
  • Material likely to be aluminum
    • Easy to work with compared to steel
    • Strength is more than adequate for the forces involved
direct force measurement
Direct Force Measurement
  • Strain Gauge
  • Load Cell
  • Signal Amplification
indirect thrust measurement
Indirect Thrust Measurement
  • Capacitive Plate System
  • Exhaust plume exerts force on a plate

Induced Force


capacitive pendulum
Capacitive Pendulum
  • Uses electronic principle of capacitance
  • Needle point fulcrums eliminate frictional losses
  • Double pendulum plates eliminate mechanical noise
signal processing
Signal Processing
  • Series of amplifiers and filters used to measure the change in signal
signal processing1
Signal Processing
  • Alternatively, use an FM generator per plate
  • Compare frequency shifts to determine deflection.
  • Advantage – more resistant to noise and distortion
  • Disadvantage – potentially more complex
  • The signal processor will tie into a computer, along with the rocket ignition circuitry.
  • Both subsystems will be integrated into a single user-controlled program. We are considering Labview at this time.
  • One rocket test scheduled in the coming weeks to gauge ignition methods & rocket plume
  • Subsequent test once strain subsystem complete.
  • Currently creating and testing software with a load-cell.
work breakdown structure
Work Breakdown Structure
  • Week 5-6 Subsystem and structure prototype
  • Week 6-7 Electrical circuit schematics
  • Week 5-9 Software composition and test
  • Week 7-10 Final mechanical component fabrication & revision
  • Week 9-12 Assembly, testing, revisions if needed
  • More details on website
works cited
Works Cited
  • Traceable calibration of the 3-axis thrust vector in the millinewton range, EB Hughes and S Oldfield, National Physical Laboratory
  • Direct Thrust Measurement of In-FEEP Clusters, IEPC-2005-235, K. Marhold and M. Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf research GmbH
  • Rocket Thrust Measurement For an Estes B6-2 Model Rocket Engine, Peter Hyatt, Jeremy LeFevre, Russell Dibb, Bringham Young University
  • Thrust stand for ground tests of solid propellant microthrusters, S. Orieux and C. Rossi and D. Esteve, Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume73, Number 7, July 2002
  • A Ground Test Rocket Thrust Measurement System, Mary Fran Desrochers, Gary W. Olsen, M. K. Hudson, Department of Applied Science and the Graduate Institute of Technology, University of Arkansas
  • MilliNewton Thrust Stand Calibration Using Electrostatic Fins, Allen H. Yan, Bradley C. Appel, Jacob G. Gedrimas, Purdue University