Miniaturized Low-Power Piezo Microvalve for NanoSat and CubeSat Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CE07P
Agency Tracking Number: 094723
Amount: $99,984.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: S2.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760-1023
DUNS: 185739591
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Douglas Spence
 Principal Investigator
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Business Official
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Research Institution
In space propulsion applications, an increasingly unmet need is compact, low-power, precision flow regulating valves. Propulsion for increasingly small spacecraft is limited by the availability of such valves. Although much work on miniaturizing valves has been performed using microfabrication approaches, few of these efforts have resulted in technologies suitable for propulsion. Busek proposes a piezo-actuated microvalve suitable for continuous regulation of gas, resolved to flowrates of better than 10^-3 sccm, enabling precision control of cold gas thrusters, resistojets, and low-power ion and Hall thrusters. Busek's fluid microvalve, developed for colloid thruster operation on NASA's ST7 project, has demonstrated resolving fluid flow to 2.5 picoliters/s over the 0-60 microliter/s regime for 1 atm source pressure (delta p); preliminary microvalve gas tests indicate the ability to resolve gas flows to 10^-2 sccm over the 0-.25 sccm regime for similar delta p. The valve architecture, when used with smaller available orifice diameters, provides 1-2 orders of magnitude lower flowrates. The focus of the effort shall be improvement of several design aspects in Busek's existing valve design, upgrading the design for high pressure gas service, and novel repackaging into a volume of approximately 4cm^3.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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