System Design Considerations and Device Overview

  • Alan H. Epstein
Part of the MEMS Reference Shelf book series (MEMSRS)


The primary objective of the engineering describe in this book is the realization of an MEMS gas turbine driven electric generator producing tens of watts of electric power. The same device with reduced electrical power extraction could produce tens a grams of thrust to propel very small air vehicles massing a few hundred grams. As a part of this effort, several MEMS engine subsystems were engineered and tested as stand alone devices, including: air-turbine driven generators, a motor driven gas compressor, combustion chambers, and turbochargers. Although challenging, useful, and complete in themselves, these devices and the requisite microfabrication technologies were engineered as part of the gas turbine engine’s research and development program. The device design space, materials, and fabrication approaches were thus constrained to be consistent with the requirements of the gas turbine and within the bounds of realizable fabrication techniques. In this chapter, we describe the overall system design of the gas turbine and its subsidiary devices, presenting an overview of the MEMS devices and technologies which underlie them. The point of view presented in this chapter is that of a device designer rather than those described in greater detail in subsequent chapters. We start by reviewing the thermodynamics of a gas turbine, briefly describe the relevant mechanics considerations – including materials, fluids, and dynamics – which shape design space, and then consider individual MEMS devices.


Centrifugal Compressor Thrust Bearing Peripheral Speed Microfabrication Technology Large Engine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan H. Epstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Aeronautics and AstronauticsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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