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Microturbines

Micro Fuel Cells

Aerospace Sensors

 MEMS Cooling

Our research activities leverage the benefits of microfabrication and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to implement novel miniature sensors, actuators, and integrated microsystems.  

Power MEMS

Advances in micromachining technology are enabling the fabrication of complex microsystems, such as dime-size gas turbines and micro fuel cells.  One can envision integrating a complete power plant on a chip by miniaturizing all the required components and implementing thermodynamic cycles or other energy conversion approaches at small scale.  Our long term objective is to develop such Power MEMS, or microsystems for energy conversion and power generation.  Upon maturity, this technology could enable portable power sources with significantly higher energy density than today's lithium batteries, and a high power density, low cost approach for scavenging energy from waste heat.  Such improvements are required to meet the growing needs of portable electronics and to enable the distributed sensors, small robots, personal cooling, higher efficiency vehicles. 

Microturbine-based heat engines:  

In our laboratory, we are developing core technology for miniature heat engines, such as microfabricated turbines, gas lubricated microbearings, and micro heat exchangers.  They are specifically aimed for a micro Rankine vapor power cycle device.  The technology development is supported by fundamental studies of fluid flow and heat transfer at small scales, such as the aerodynamics of moderate Reynolds number (10<Re<1000) microturbomachinery, visco-inertial internal flows, and two-phase flow in microchannels.

Microfabricated fuel cells:

Using photolithographic patterning and etching, we are developing miniature proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) operating on hydrogen-air.  MEMS technology allows us to re-invent and optimize the fuel cell configuration, such as the flow paths, gas diffusion layers, and the device assembly.  Future interests also include optimize the electro-catalyst structures using nanotechnology.

MEMS cooling:

In addition to implementing thermodynamic cycles for power generation, we wish to develop microsystems for cooling of electronics, sensors, or people.  Current research activities include the development of an adaptive MEMS-based cooling skin for high heat flux applications, such as ramjets or high performance power electronics and microprocessors.  Future interests include vapor compression cooling microsystems for personal cooling.

 

Sensors and Actuators

Aerospace Sensors:

Sensors have been one of the most successful applications for MEMS technology, as illustrated by the broad use of MEMS pressure sensors and accelerometers in the automotive industry. We wish to enable a similar pervasiveness in the aerospace industry by developing technologies and devices that meet the stringent requirements and harsh environments characteristic to aerospace applications.  

Our approach is to partner with aerospace companies to jointly develop solutions to meet their specific needs.  We are currently developing a silicon carbide pressure sensor with Kulite Semiconductor Products (Leonia, NJ), and a silicon carbide shear sensor, or skin friction gage, with ATK GASL (Long Island, NY).  We are also developing novel microfabrication and packaging processes for high temperature devices.

Potential industrial collaborators should contact Dr. Frechette for more information.

 

Research Assistant Positions

We are currently looking for highly qualified and motivated graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to join our laboratory.  If you are interested and have relevant technical expertise, please contact Prof. Frechette for more information.  Funding is available for some of the projects.  Application information is available online.  The official language at the Université de Sherbrooke is French, however English is a common second language for most researchers, and theses can be written and defended in English.
 
Description of open research projects.  
 

Université de Sherbrooke - Faculty of Engineering - Mechanical Engineering

Send mail to Luc.Frechette@USherbrooke.ca with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 2006-07-11