Design and Operation of Membrane Microcalorimeters for Thermal Screening of Highly Energetic Materials
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Following several terrorist attacks that have occurred during this decade, there is an urgent need to develop new technologies for the detection of highly energetic materials that can represent an explosive hazard. In an effort to contribute to the development of these new technologies, this work presents the design aspects of a chip-scale calorimeter that can be used to detect an explosive material by calorimetric methods. The aim of this work is to apply what has been done in the area of chip-scale calorimetry to the screening of highly energetic materials. The prototypes presented here were designed using computer assisted design and finite element analysis tools. The design parameters were set to satisfy the requirements of a sensor that can be integrated into a portable system (handheld) for field applications. The design approach consisted of developing a sensor with thick silicon membranes that can hold micro-size samples and that can operate at high temperatures, while keeping the cost of the sensor low. Contrary to other high resolution systems based on thin-film membranes, our prototypes exhibit a contribution from addenda that is comparable to that from the sample, and hence they have lower sensitivity. However, using thick membranes offers the advantage of producing sensors strong enough for this application and that have significantly lower cost. Once the prototypes were designed, the fabrication was performed using standard microfabrication techniques. Finally, the operation of our prototypes was demonstrated by conducting thermal analysis of different liquid and solid samples.
Carreto Vazquez, Victor 1976- (2010). Design and Operation of Membrane Microcalorimeters for Thermal Screening of Highly Energetic Materials. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from