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Development of an Embedded Hydrogen Peroxide Catalyst Chamber in Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramics
Keywords: catalyst chamber, micro-channel, micro-combustion
Advances in microelectronics have driven a move to smaller satellites in the range of 10 to 50 kg. These satellites require smaller propulsion devices with lower propellant requirements to perform pointing and station-keeping tasks in orbit. Along with smaller size, these new satellites are being designed to minimize cost. Recent advances in embedding micro-channels and catalytic surfaces in monolithic LTCC structures provide a unique platform to produce a reliable, low-cost micro-propulsion system. The proposed design uses micro-channels embedded in the ceramic substrate to create a nozzle and embedded catalyst chamber. A hydrogen peroxide monopropellant is injected into a silver coated catalyst chamber structure. The monopropellant decomposes into hot gas which is expelled through the nozzle producing thrust. This work will describe the design and fabrication of an embedded micro-channel hydrogen peroxide catalyst chamber using LTCC materials. Computational Fluid Dynamic models of 2-D reacting flow will be presented to indicate the predicted catalyst chamber performance. The construction of the device will be described including the use of a LASER milling machine for channel fabrication and a CNC Direct Write tool for silver paste deposition onto the channel walls to provide a decomposition surface for hydrogen peroxide. The performance testing of the catalyst chamber will be presented to validate the design. A cold-gas test was performed to check for structural integrity at high pressures and flow. Both 30% and 85% hydrogen peroxide solutions were introduced to measure decomposition performance based on temperature measurements on the device surface and in the exit plume. These predictions will be used to validate the design and model predictions.
Donald Plumlee, Research Engineer
Boise State University
Boise, ID

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