Accion Electrospray Thrusters

Uses 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate EMI-BF4 room temperature ionic liquid

Only the TILE device appears on the October 2016 Accion Systems website, less information than the older fly sheets. The temperature ranges were specified as -10C to 80C operating, -40C to 100C storage, so that sets the boundaries on orbital day/night cubesat temperature cycling. A cubesat may need thermal mass and thermal shielding for the thruster to survive.

I bet the electronics packages could be greatly minimized. Their online video shows a pulsed spark operation, perhaps that could be achieved with a very small piezo voltage source timed to another piezo that sprays the ionic liquid.

In high volumes, a "printed thruster" approach might work well with large scale roll-to-roll processing. These must still be inserted with pick-and-place equipment, and laser bonded to a satellite substrate, probably with half-a-dozen other components (ASIC, HV transistors, caps, piezos). In high volume production, a thruster should be cheaper than an ink jet cartridge.


Accion (last edited 2016-10-21 22:44:38 by KeithLofstrom)