Slit Colloid Thrusters Using Ionic Liquid Propellants

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-04-C-2504
Agency Tracking Number: O031-0146
Amount: $749,745.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: OSD03-008
Solicitation Number: 2003.2
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Vlad Hruby
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Research Institution
Busek proposes to develop and demonstrate a milliNewton slit colloid thruster (SCT) system and at the conclusion of the program deliver the thruster prototype to the government. During Phase I, Busek confirmed the feasibility of the SCT and established the preferred slit geometry that is suitable for large scale arraying. It was shown that a slit emits from a series of closely spaced individual Taylor cones forming a sheet of colloids. The time-of-flight spectra associated with this sheet electrospray indicate high propulsive efficiency regimes of particular interest to this project. In the Phase II program we propose to further develop the basic thruster array element and characterize it using unique methods for achieving uniform propellant distribution, stable emission, and direct thrust measurement. The development will be supported by modeling efforts by MIT and ionic liquid propellant optimization studies by Yale University. An array of multiple SCT elements will then be developed, allowing for convenient and precise scaling to the milliNewton range, while maintaining propulsive efficiencies of 70% and specific impulse up to 1000s. This expected performance is unmatched by any other electric propulsion device operating in the milliNewton thrust range, including the main competitor, liquid metal based FEEPs.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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