Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
An Thrust Stand is a device that uses the basic principles of torsion and displacement to experimentally measure and calculate the thrust generated by an Electric Propulsion (EP) Thruster. Western Michigan University is host to three organizations that work with electric propulsion thrusters currently without a way of obtaining direct experimental thrust data. For this Senior Design Project, the flexure, optical sensing, damping and leveling systems for a thrust stand originally designed by Hannah Watts in her WMU Honors Thesis: Design of A Thrust Stand for Electric Propulsion  will be constructed. The four subsystems will be redesigned, optimized, and integrated into the thrust stand for use by student organizations. Additionally, substantial documentation will provided to allow for future reconfiguration, ease of use, and easy replication.
The thrust stand will be operated inside WMU's Aerospace Laboratory for Plasma Experiments (ALPE) large vacuum chamber at pressures ranging from (10-7 - 10-3 Torr). A modular design will be used to allow for the different organizations to share the same thrust stand. Accuracy, compatibility, size, cost, and the vacuum environment will drive the design criteria for each unique subsystem. Goals for design, construction, and implementation of the various subsystems will be discussed. The proposed thrust measurement range: lOµN to lmN. Ideal measurement accuracy for the thrust stand is lOµN. The estimated budget for construction of the four subsystems is estimated at $5,296.33 USD.
Hefferan, Logan, "Design, Optimization, and Construction of Flexure, Optical, Damping, and Leveling Systems for Electric Propulsion Thrust Stand" (2022). Honors Theses. 3507.
Honors Thesis-Open Access