Topology Optimization of Heating Chamber of Vaporizing Liquid Microthrusters

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Abstract

Vaporizing Liquid Microthrusters (VLM) have recently received attention as promising propulsion technology for highly miniaturized spacecraft due to its high thrust levels and low power consumption. This paper presents the results of numerical optimization of the parameters for the design of the heating chamber of VLMs that use water as the propellant. The optimization is aimed to increase the heat transfer coefficient of the heating chamber in order to maximize the heat convection while minimizing the heat and pressure losses from the inlet to the nozzle as well as the size of the device. The simulations are carried out in a combined environment using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and an optimization tool to run the algorithms. The results of the optimization are compared to the results of a comprehensive experimental campaign and are intended to be used in the next design of the VLMs produced by TU Delft that will fly on-board of a PocketQube.

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