High-performance Microsystems

The through-life assessment of high-performance microsystems, Cranfield University

Microsystems is a fast developing field that covers a wide range of applications including healthcare, portable electronics, automotive, aerospace, defence, energy and environment. They are generally considered high-value products that are both technology intensive and expensive. However, microsystems are currently typically disposed of in case of failure or obsolescence. There are two main reasons for this: safety concerns (such as the avoidance of cross contamination) and the lack of through-life technologies for servicing or maintenance during their useful life.

This study aims at assessing the servicing challenges associated with high-performance microsystems, such as maintenance, repair, upgrade, whole-life cost and obsolescence. It aims at investigating how identifying associated services would influence design and manufacturing such that service performance and cost could be optimised. The specific research questions are:

  1. Identifying service challenges for non-disposable, high performance microsystems.
  2. Investigating design approaches to minimise service requirements for such systems, and how such approaches would affect the fabrication technique.
  3. Assessing possibilities of failure or performance deficiency in high-performance microsystems, and how mitigating such risks would influence design and manufacturing.

Awarded to: Jeff Alcock