Laminated Gas Generator Actuator Arrays
English, Brian Alan
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Existing microactuator limitations prevent control of small-scale, spin-stabilized vehicles. These applications require actuators insensitive to shock that have forces on the order of Newtons and millisecond control periods. This research presents batch-fabrication lamination approaches for the realization of large arrays of high-impulse, short-duration gas generator actuators (GGAs), and system implementation approaches to integrate these GGAs into a small-scale, spin-stabilized projectile for the purpose of generating steering forces on the projectile. Electronic packaging and MEMS processing are combined to batch-fabricate millimeter-scale GGAs insensitive to large shocks. Robust, prefabricated thermoplastic and metal films are patterned by laser machining or photolithography, and multilayer devices are assembled by adhesive lamination. The GGAs remained operational after 10,000 g shocks. Optimized design and propellant selection enables control of the force profile and actuation timing. Rapid force rise times are achieved using appropriately selected solid propellants and specially designed hot-wire igniters that create a larger combustion fronts. By reshaping the combustion profile of the solid propellant, tens of Newtons are generated within milliseconds. In addition to force control, the timing of the force application was controllable to within 1 ms for optimized GGAs. Performance results demonstrate that GGA actuator arrays actuate within appropriate timescales and with enough authority to control a 40 mm projectile with a spin rate of 60 Hz. After actuator characterization, GGAs, control electronics, and power supply are mounted into a 40 mm diameter projectile, and a full flight system was flown to demonstrate divert authority of the GGAs.