Hot Gas Vane Motor

There currently exists no small-scale engine or motor for self-powered systems that provides high power, high bandwidth, and variable speed operation in an energy efficient manner. To address this issue, the Center is developing a hot gas vane motor, which is powered by the injection of a monopropellant or bipropellant, and includes design variations to enable high conversion efficiency in unidirectional or bi-directional operation. The motor is intended for a size scale in the one to ten centimeter (diameter) range (although they could find significant application in a 50 cm range as well), with corresponding maximum output powers between tens of watts and several kilowatts.  Relative to battery-powered electric motors, the proposed motor is intended to provide significantly greater power density of the prime mover and fast refueling capability of the energy source.  Relative to hydrocarbon-fueled internal combustion engines, the vane motor provides greater power density, start/stop operation, high bandwidth operation, the potential for bi-directional capability, large dynamic range (i.e., torque/speed range) including torque output at no speed, high efficiency across speeds, and zero fuel consumption and noise at idle.  Relative to hydrocarbon-fueled turbine engines, the proposed motor provides start/stop operation, high bandwidth operation, bi-directional capability, much lower shaft speed, and a much larger dynamic range (i.e., torque/speed range).  Additionally, unlike hydrocarbon-based engines, the proposed engine is non-air-breathing, and thus can be operated underwater, at very high altitudes, or in otherwise oxygen-deprived environments.