Achieving Aerodynamic Stability Through Active Boundary Layer Control Utilizing MEMS

Period of Performance: 08/05/1998 - 05/04/1999


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

M Technologies, Inc.
440 Horsham Road
Horsham, PA 19044
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Georgia Institute of Technology
225 North Ave NW
Atlanta, GA 30332
Institution POC

Research Topics


The development and study of micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS, has advanced significantly over the years to the point where MEMS are demonstrating a vast potential for utilization within DoD programs. Planned military missile systems are being driven to be highly maneuverable and agile, a low radar cross section, and for carriage in weapons bays with very limited internal volume. Control surfaces of conventional missiles provide stability in flight, however, they also provided a large portion of the missile's radar signature and occupy a significant portion of the space within a weapons bay. If the control surfaces were to be removed and the weapon's stability could be synthetically controlled, significant enhancements would be realized in the weapons agility and maneuverability as well as radar cross section and overall physical footprint. It is hypothesized that a flexible grid of alternating MEMS sensors and actuators can be developed and incorporated on a missile that will provide characterization and manipulation of the supersonic turbulent boundary layer of same. This active grid will provide a closed-loop feedback control to synthetically stabilize an inherently unstable "finless missile". This represents a high-payoff technology for the Air Force applicable to current development missile programs such as the Air Superiority Missile Technology Program.