This paper describes the operational theory and design of a quadri-directional air thruster ( “quad” ) for propulsion of the free-floating robot of Ohio University. In this design, the air is drawn from a central air tank and routed to four nozzles of a quad thruster via a pressure regulator, a distribution manifold, four solenoid valves, and a quad manifold. The pressure regulator is controlled by a d.c. servomotor and the solenoid valves are turned on/off using the digital output ports of the computer. The performance characteristics of this quad thruster were determined experimentally. The experimental measurement of the thrust as a function of the regulated pressure shows a good match with the data predicted by the supporting theory.

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