MEMS Actuators for Gas Flow Applications
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Professor Luis Bernal,
Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering,
University of Michigan
An overview of research on MEMS actuators for management and control of gas flows will be presented. The research is motivated by recent interest in MEMS technologies for flow control applications, management of gas flows in chemical sensors, and MEMS-based deployment of wireless sensors. Three research activities will be discussed: resonant acoustic actuators for micro scale propulsion and flow control; micro combustors for power generation and propulsion; and micro scale gas pumps. An important feature in these efforts has been the development of simplified reduced order models that accurately capture physical processes at the relevant spatial and temporal scales. Larger scale tests are used to demonstrate important physical mechanisms and to validate the reduced order models. MEMS fabrication technologies developed to implement these concepts will be reviewed, and current performance and future prospects will be discussed.
Dr. Luis P. Bernal received an Aeronautical Engineer degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, in 1971, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1981. After graduation he joined the experimental Fluid Mechanics group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, where he conducted research in safety fuels, and thrust augmenting ejectors. He joined the University of Michigan in 1984 where he is now an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering. He is the recipient of the 2005-2006 Department of Aerospace Engineering Service Award. He is coauthor with his students and colleagues of over 70 publications and has been a member of numerous review panels for NSF, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NASA. His research interests are in experimental gas dynamics, aerodynamics and propulsion, and the application of MEMS technologies to gas flow sensors and actuators, and to flow control for aerospace systems.