TUESDAY, JANUARY 9
Size doesnt matter to MITs micro-engines
Super-size your order of
fries? Get the Biggie-sized soft drink? Why
not? Its a better deal, isnt
it? The belief is that "bigger is better."
But according to Dr. Alan Epstein,
size doesnt always matter. The Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) is developing
micro-electro-mechanical systems-based gas turbine engines,
turbogenerators and miniature rocket engines.
Epstein, the R.C. Maclaurin
professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, head of the Propulsion
and Energy Conservation Division and director of MITs Gas
Turbine Laboratory, will present " The MIT MicroEngine Project" at
a colloquium at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, at NASA Langley's H.J.E.
Reid Conference Center.
The size of a button, these "mini"
engines are based on micro-high-speed rotating machinery with power
densities nearing those of their full-sized
brethren. The MIT micro-gas turbine is a 1-cm diameter
by 3-mm thick silicon heat engine designed to produce up to 20
watts of electric power, with later versions producing up to 100
Epstein will discuss the
applications for these micro-engines and portable power that offers
advantages in cost, redundancy and standardization. He
will also describe assembly as well as structures and materials
used to produce these tiny engines.
Epstein received all of his
degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, finishing with a
doctorate in 1975. He has been on faculty since
1980. His technical interests are energy conservation,
propulsion, and turbo-machinery including micro heat engines and
turbine heat transfer. Epstein has written over 70
publications and received four best paper awards from the
International Gas Turbine Institute and the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers Gas Turbine Award.
Media Briefing: A media briefing will be
held at 1:15 p.m. at the H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, 14 Langley
Blvd., at NASA Langley Research Center. Members of the
media who wish to attend should contact Kimberly W. Land (757)
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