This project summarizes the
progress completed by the Senior Design Team on a miniature turbine that
is currently being developed at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The goal of this project is to design, fabricate, and test the casing
and electrical components of a miniature turbine built to power small
vehicles such as a micro air vehicle (MAV). MAV's are vehicles with a
maximum dimension of less then six inches and are used for surveillance
and scouting. Due to the small size of MAV's, weight is a key design
parameter. The batteries alone can account for more than 50% of the
weight of the entire vehicle. A miniature turbine driven by compressed
gas and coupled to a DC generator has been proposed as a replacement for
batteries on these and other small vehicles.
The turbine would not only
produce power for the electrical systems, but mechanical power for
propulsion systems as well. This would eliminate the need for a motor.
By decreasing the weight of power systems, MAV's will be able to carry
more instrumentation, fly longer, and be better able to complete their
When fabricated, the turbine should spin at a minimum speed of 50,000
rpm and produce at least 5 watts of electrical power, but analysis shows
that the turbine may reach speeds up to 100,000 rpm and produce up to 15
watts of power. Testing has begun to find the efficiency of the turbine
as well as to compare the power to weight ratio to that of batteries.
The multidisciplinary team consisted of:
DAN HOLT (Mechanical Engineering, Project Leader)
CARL CRAWFORD (Electrical Engineering)
ROB LATOUR (Mechanical Engineering)
ARMAN ALTINCATAL (Mechanical Engineering)
SRUJAN BEHURIA (Industrial Engineering)
FACULTY MENTOR: Dr. JEFF KOZAK
FACULTY ADVISOR: Dr. NYE