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A Micromachined Combustor and Its Application to Micro Thermoelectric Power Generation

[+] Author Affiliations
Chunbo Zhang, Khalil Najafi, Luis P. Bernal, Peter D. Washabaugh

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. IMECE2002-33272, pp. 1-6; 6 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Microelectromechanical Systems
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3642-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


This paper reports a micromachined combustor and its application to micro thermoelectric power generation. The combustor chamber is covered by a ∼1.3μm thick dielectric diaphragm which is supported by a silicon support rim bonded to a glass substrate. The diaphragm is coated with Pt-catalyst and incorporates a heater for ignition. Scaling effects on self-sustained catalytic combustion are investigated for a square combustor chamber. The small size limit for self-sustained combustion at a hydrogen flow rate of ∼3sccm is found to be between 1 to 2mm. Very large temperature gradients can be achieved on diaphragm because of its low thermal conductance and the high combustion temperature. This combustor configuration is used in a micro thermoelectric power generation chip. The output power level of the generator has been measured to be ∼3μW/thermocouple at a hydrogen flow rate of 3.1sccm.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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