University of Texas at El Paso

Torsional BalanceThrust Stand


The torsional balance thrust stand measures the displacement using a high precision laser coupled with repeatable low force flexure support.  It is calibrated by measuring displacement with a known force. Repeatable measurements and electronic filtering of indicated thrust versus time enables accurate measurement of both steady state and pulsing thrust operation.

Specifications and performance



Laser measurement displacement

Highly accurate for small displacements enabling low thrust measurement

Rigid beam

Eliminates deflection due to weight of thruster

Flexure supports

Low torsional resistance and repeatable spring rate. Enables accurate measurements at ultra-low thrust

Development Status



1.     Ingle, M.,Flores, J., Robinson, N., and Choudhuri, A., Development of a Torsional ThrustBalance for the Performance Evaluation of 5-N Class Thrusters, 2011,ITEA Journal 2011, Vol. 32, pp. 159–166. (W) (ITEA Best Paper)

2.   Acosta,A., Flores, J., and Choudhuri, A. Torsional Thrust Balance Measurement SystemDevelopment for Testing Reaction Control Thrusters, 2013, Measurement,Vol. 26, No. 9, pp. 3414-3428. (W)