Date of Award

Winter 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Micro and Nanoscale Systems


This dissertation investigates the development of a multistage micro gas compressor utilizing multiple pump stages cascaded in series to increase the pressure rise with passive microvalves and piezoelectric unimorph diaphragms. This research was conducted through modeling, simulation, design, and fabrication of the microcompressor and its components. A single-stage and a two-stage microcompressor were developed to demonstrate and compare the performance and effectiveness of using a cascaded multistage design.

Steady fluid flow through static microvalves structure was studied to gain insight on its gas flow dynamics and characteristics. Transient analysis combined with the structure's interaction was investigated with an analytical model and FEM model. The static analysis and transient analysis enabled lumped model parameter extraction for modeling and simulations. The transient FEM solution of the microvalve fluid-structure interaction (FSI) allows for extraction of the damping ratio for the lumped model. The microvalves were fabricated with MEMS microfabrication methods and integrated into a machined microcompressor housing. Study from the simulation of the microvalve fluid-structure dynamics in Simulink showed the frequency of the microvalves, at which frequency the mierovalve is more prone to leakage. Simulation indicated that the reverse leakage from the sealing of the microvalve can have a significant impact on the pressure rise performance of the compressor.

A model of the single- and the two-stage microcompressor were developed with Simulink to observe the dynamics and performance of the multistage microcompressor. The simulation shows the dead volume between the two chambers to decrease in the overall pressure rise of the multistage microcompressor. Operating scenarios with different frequency and in phase and out of phase actuation between stages were simulated to understand the dynamics and performance of the multistage design. The fabricated single- and two-stage microcompressor produced a maximum pressure rise of 10 kPa and 18 kPa, respectively, and a maximum flow rate of 32 sccm for both. To obtain these maximum pressure rises, the microcompressors were operated at high frequency at the resonance of the piezoelectric diaphragm. This dissertation investigated the feasibility and operation of a multistage gas microcompressor with passive microvalves, allowing the exploration of its miniaturization.