Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Hitt, Darren


The next generation of miniaturized satellites (“nanosats”) feature dramatically reduced thrust and impulse requirements for purposes of spacecraft attitude control and maneuvering. E↵orts at the University of Vermont have concentrated on developing a MEMS-based chemical micropropulsion system based on a rocket grade hydrogen peroxide (HTP) monopropellant fuel. A key component in the micropropulsion system is the catalytic reactor whose role is to chemically decompose the monopropellant, thereby releasing the fuel’s chemical energy for thrust production. The present study is a joint computational and experimental design e↵ort at developing a MEMS-based micro-reactor for incorporation into a monopropellant micropropulsion system. Numerically, 0D and simplified 2D models have been developed to validate the model and characterize heat and mass di↵usion in the channel. This model will then be extended to a 2D model including all geometric complexities of the catalyst bed geometry with the goal of optimization. Experimentally, both meso and micro scale catalyst geometries have been constructed to prove the feasibility of using RuO2 nanostructures as an in situ in a microchannel.