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Vol. 117, Issue 6, June 2010, pp.29-40




Realization of a Solid-Propellant based Microthruster Using Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramics


1Jaya THAKUR, 1Rudra PRATAP, 2Yannick FOURNIER, 2Thomas MAEDER, 2Peter RYSER

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560012, India

2Laboratoire de Production Microtechnique, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne,

CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

E-mail: pratap@mecheng.iisc.ernet.in



Received: 21 May 2010   /Accepted: 21 June 2010   /Published: 25 June 2010


Abstract: The introduction of micro-spacecrafts in the space industry has led to the development of various micro-propulsion techniques. Microthrusters are micropropulsion devices used in a microspacecraft for precise station keeping, orbit adjustment, attitude control, drag compensation and apogee kicking. The principle of operation of a solid propellant thruster is based on the combustion of a solid energetic material stored in a microfabricated chamber. In the current work, Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) technology has been used for the realization of a solid propellant based microthruster structure. Hydroxyl Terminated Poly-Butadiene/Ammonium Perchlorate (HTPB/AP) is used as the propellant. It is shown that geometric and dimensional variations in design, depending on the application requirements, can be easily implemented. Preliminary testing for micro-combustion has been done to verify the basic operation of the microthruster. A thrust value of 19.5 mN has been measured.


Keywords: LTCC, MEMS, Thrust, Solid propellant, Micropropulsion


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