Development of a chemical microthruster based on pulsed detonation

Ming-Hsun Wu, Tsung Hsun Lu

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24 Citations (Scopus)


The development of a microthruster based on gaseous pulsed detonation is presented in this study. The feasibility of cyclic valveless pulsed detonation at frequencies over 100Hz is first experimentally investigated in a microchannel with 1mm×0.6mm rectangular cross-section. Highly reactive ethylene/oxygen mixtures are utilized to reduce the time and distance required for the reaction wave to run up to detonation in a smooth channel. High-speed visualizations have shown that the reaction waves reach detonative state through highly repeatable flame acceleration and deflagration-to-detonation transition processes in the channel. The validated concepts are implemented for the development of an integrated pulsed detonation microthruster. The microthruster was fabricated using low temperature co-fired ceramic tape technology. The volume of the reaction channel in the microthruster was 58mm3. Spark electrodes and ion probes were embedded in the ceramic microthruster. The channel and via holes were fabricated using laser cutting techniques. Ion probe measurements showed that the reaction wave propagated at velocities larger than 2000m s1before reaching the channel exit. The pulsed detonation microthruster has been successfully operated at frequencies as high as 200Hz.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105040
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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