Low Cost Proportional Valves for Electric Propulsion using Piezoelectric Actuators

Senior, P.; Shaw, P.; Potterton, T.; Gibbon, D.; Sheridan, S.; Morgan, G.; Murray, K. and Baker, A. (2018). Low Cost Proportional Valves for Electric Propulsion using Piezoelectric Actuators. In: Space Propulsion 2018, 14-18 May 2018, Seville, Spain.

Abstract

The evaluation of a system of low cost proportional valves using a piezoelectric actuator has been conducted and compared to a Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) heritage approach using solenoid valve actuators in a ‘bang-bang’ control technique for high and low pressure propulsion systems. The current SSTL heritage baseline control technique has been demonstrated to create instabilities in the gas propellant flow which result in non-steady fluctuations in the plasma leading to sub optimal performance [1]. The Open University UK has designed a simple proportional valve which SSTL has evaluated and will be developing into a flight-ready design. The same valve design can be used for both high-pressure regulation and for low pressure mass flow control. The basic design has been bench-tested in a laboratory environment and is now being iterated upon to improve its manufacturability.

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