Abstract: Hydrogen peroxide is being considered as a monopropellant in micropropulsion systems for the next generation of miniaturized satellites (`nanosats`) due to its high energy density, modest specific impulse and green characteristics. Efforts at the University of Vermont have focused on the development of a MEMS-based microthruster that uses a novel slug flow monopropellant injection scheme to generate thrust and impulse-bits commensurate with the intended micropropulsion application. The present study is a computational effort to investigate the initial decomposition of the monopropellant as it enters the catalytic chamber, and to compare the impact of the monopropellant injection scheme on decomposition performance. Two-dimensional numerical studies of the monopropellant in microchannel geometries have been developed and used to characterize the performance of the monopropellant before vaporization occurs. The results of these studies show that monopropellant in the lamellar flow regime, which lacks a non-diffusive mixing mechanism, does not decompose at a rate that is suitable for the microthruster dimensions. In contrast, monopropellant in the slug flow regime decomposes 57% faster than lamellar flow for a given length, indicating that the monopropellant injection scheme has potential benefits for the performance of the microthruster.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).