Microscale Power Generation and Propulsion: It's Not the Same as Big Devices Made Smaller
Dr. Paul Ronney
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Despite numerous advantages of fuels over batteries, combustion devices have not yet been employed for electrical power production and propulsion at small scales. Most current micro-scale concepts employ scaled-down versions of existing macroscale devices, though such microdevices experience more difficulties with heat losses, friction, sealing, fabrication, assembly etc. than their macroscale counterparts. This talk will emphasize the science of reacting flows in microscale devices including (1) performance of plastic spiral counterflow heat-recirculating "Swiss Roll" combustors, (2) catalytic combustion at microscales, (3) power generation using single-chamber solid oxide fuel cells. Practical implementation of these concepts will also be discussed.
Paul D. Ronney is a Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Prof. Ronney received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, and a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He held postdoctoral appointments at the NASA-Lewis Research Center and the Laboratory for Computational Physics at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory and a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University before assuming his current position at USC. Prof. Ronney was the Payload Specialist Astronaut (Alternate) for Space Shuttle mission MSL-1 (STS-83, April 4 - 8, 1997) and the reflight of this mission (STS-94, July 1 - 16, 1997).