Ion Propulsion for MEMS Flight Vehicles (rev 7-1)
Agency / Branch:
DOD / DARPA
A novel approach to the propulsion of very small, micro air vehicles is proposed in which electrostatic forces acting between an ion gas cloud and an appropriate anode are harnessed for thrust or lift. A means is proposed for the generation and maintenance of the ion gas from ambient air and for the regulation of the propulsor. Preliminary study indicates the new concept is valid only for air vehicles weighing a few grams or less operating at very low Reynolds numbers. Analysis shows that the proposed propulsor when applied appropriately can be many times more efficient than similarly-sized actuator disk propulsor like propellers or jets on such miniature air vehicles. Moreover, the design is simple, robust, reliable, and has exceptionally wide flight envelope. In this Phase I effort mathematical modeling and basic experimentation will be done to validate the concept. In addition, preliminary studies will be made of its manufacturability and its mission-effectiveness. In Phase II, working propulsor(s) will be designed, manufactured and tested.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:Edward Allen
Daedalus Research Inc.
P.O. Box 6067 Logan, UT 84341
Number of Employees: