Point of Contact: Mr. Tony Hall, email: anthony.hall@uah.edu

Vacuum chamber

The PRC Vacuum Chamber

The PRC Large Vacuum Test Facility is a 13-ft long by 6-ft diameter cylindrical stainless clad chamber. It has the capability of reaching base pressures down to 10-6 Torr or around 90 miles above sea level. It uses a combination of roughing pump and a diffusion pump to remove air from the chamber. It is configured with four convection gauges, one ionization gauge, and pressure transducers for measurement. The chamber wall features a series of high voltage/current, sensor and propellant feed ports. The test facility offers a relevant environment for low cost testing to evaluate: 1) high altitude atmospheric conditions for UAVs and flapping wing dynamics, 2) Low Earth orbit space conditions for small-scale air-breathing, chemical, and electric propulsion devices.

Past experimentation has included; gas-gas reaction control thruster at low earth conditions, Vicon motion capture of camera butterfly testing at elevated altitudes, and a MagLev micro-thruster demonstration at reduced pressure environments.