Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2010
The operating conditions of air-breathing propulsion engines demand designs that include cooling by the fuel and use of lightweight materials that withstand extreme heat fluxes under oxidizing conditions. Currently there are no means to non-invasively measure the fuel temperature with the required temporal and spatial resolution. It is important to monitor and maintain the maximum fuel temperature below critical levels in order to prevent coking. For ground-based experiments, real-time fuel temperature measurements can be used to relax safety constraints, thereby allowing for higher speed flow and longer length experiments. Furthermore, experience, information, and instrumentation developed as the result of ground-based experiments can form the basis for in-flight test capability. Flight hardened test capability can be incorporated as part of a control strategy that would enhance overall combustor efficiency by balancing fuel flow rates with combustor wall temperature to yield the most optimum operating conditions. In this program we apply the ultrasonic thermometry in 2 areas; 1) fuel temperature measurements in the manifold region and 2) fuel temperature in one of the combustor cooling passages. As a by-product of cooling passage measurement we will also measure heat flux and surface temperature of material between the combustion inner chamber and cooling channel. BENEFIT: Ultrasonic thermometry offers unique capabilities to hypersonic vehicle development. Improved thermal transport measurement methods speed development, improve understanding, and enhance our ability to validate analytical models and hardware for numerous propulsion and aeroshell applications. The non-intrusive nature of the method is particularly attractive for hostile environment encountered in hypersonic flight. The immediate market for this technology is primarily in military applications where there is a need for improved thermal transfer measurement tools to drive the development and evaluation of hypersonic materials and components. In addition to the applications in hypersonic vehicle and propulsion systems, the ultrasonic temperature sensor technology has applications in the areas of space lift, space platform, combustion research, and missiles. There is also a potential commercial market in areas where thermal transport data is needed in relatively inaccessible regions such as combustion chambers, reactors and in some glass molding operations.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.97K | Year: 2010
The transition in boundary layer flows from laminar to transitional to turbulence has an important impact in hypersonic vehicle aerodynamics and aerothermodynamics. Ground tests of boundary layer transition are generally unsatisfactory due to the high noise levels of ground facilities compared to flight. Flight provides the best environment for measuring transition. However, current methods for measuring boundary layer transition are tedious, lack sufficient bandwidth, and are invasive in that the sensors often alter and disrupt the flow. Using commercial instrumentation in the Phase I program, we demonstrated the ability to use ultrasound to measure small, rapid temperature variations (
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2012
In this Phase I program, we develop and validate an acoustic concept that is capable of measuring interior temperatures in complex munitions propellants. The measurement technique is based on ultrasonic thermometry methods. Using sensors located on the exterior surface, the variation in propagation time is used to estimate the internal temperature. No modification of the component is required. In laboratory studies we address the issues of echo identification, optimal operating frequency, coupling, calibration, and repeatability. A series of laboratory studies validate the concept and demonstrate the potential for implementation for real-time monitoring of internal temperature. Successful demonstration of the concept and measurement methods in the Phase I program will provide the basis for full-scale prototype systems to be completed in Phase II
Industrial Measurement Systems Inc. | Date: 2014-04-21
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 741.79K | Year: 2013
The Phase I program demonstrated the efficacy of real-time of ultrasonic recession measurements on low density TPS materials. Measurements on internal echoes established the feasibility of non-intrusive temperature measurements. In the Phase II program we will continue to improve, optimize, and extend the technology. Sensors with better elevated temperature performance will be developed and configured for ablation measurements. Instrumentation with improved low frequency and more robust time-of flight algorithms will be incorporated into the system. Configurations with multiple sensors suitable for mapping recession profiles will be evaluated. The measurement technique will be applied and measurement results verified through a series of ablation tests where the real-time recession data will be quantitatively compared to that obtained from post-ablation analysis.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.96K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: In order to achieve precise guidance, navigation and control in reentry vehicles, aerodynamic shape must be accurately known throughout the flight trajectory. In the Phase I program, real-time, temperature compensated ultrasonic measurements of surface recession of TPS materials was demonstrated. Using sensors mounted on the non-heated surface, recession was measured with unprecedented temporal and axial resolution during an ablation event. The system combines the elements of ultrasonic thickness gauging technology with ultrasonic thermometry techniques. The Phase II effort is focused on refining and applying the measurement method to a range of relevant TPS materials. Extensive tests will be conducted comparing the ultrasonic-based results with independent temperature and recession measurements. BENEFIT: Quantitative real-time recession sensing has application in TPS evaluation for both ground-based testing and in-flight systems. Military markets include NASA, Air Force, Navy and Army. In addition to hypersonics applications, there are also potential applications in combustion research, directed energy research and health monitoring.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2012
ABSTRACT: In order to achieve precise guidance, navigation and control in re-entry vehicles, aerodynamic shape must be accurately known throughout the flight trajectory. For this Phase I program an ultrasonic-based technique for real-time, non-intrusive (5 KHz) measurement of recession during ablation will be developed. The system combines the elements of ultrasonic thickness gauging technology with ultrasonic thermometry techniques. Novel, independent temperature measurement methods and analysis techniques will be formulated to separate variations attributed to thickness changes from those attributed to temperature changes. Recession, or wall thickness, changes can be measured using sensors located remotely from the ablating surface without modifying the thermal protective system in any way. The measurement concept will be verified through a series of ablation tests where real-time recession data will be quantitatively compared to post-ablation analysis. The instrumentation has low power consumption and can be made sufficiently compact for potential in-flight measurement. BENEFIT: Quantitative real-time recession sensing has application in TPS evaluation for both ground-based testing and in-flight systems. Military markets include NASA, Air Force, Navy and Army. In addition to hypersonics applications, there are also potential applications in combustion research, directed energy research and health monitoring.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2012
Although significant advances have been made in ground-based testing and simulations, it is still impossible to precisely replicate the diversity of in-flight conditions experienced by ablative thermal protection systems (TPS). This leads to uncertainty in the predictions of the magnitude and rate of TPS ablation. Because in-flight monitoring is difficult, the uncertainty in actual boundary conditions and models must be considered when designing a TPS. To reduce risk, designers must resort to trade-offs which often involve increasing heat shield mass. Direct ablator temperature, heat flux and recession measurements would allow engineers to reduce design uncertainty and improve modeling. These improvements will lead to decreased heat shield mass, enabling missions that are not otherwise feasible and directly increasing science payload and returns.Ultrasonic methods for real-time monitoring of ablator conditions including internal temperature distribution, heat flux and recession will be developed in this program. Internal localization methods of ultrasonic thermometry will be used to accurately measure temperature distribution to within close proximity of surface charring. Temperature compensation will be applied to ultrasonic thickness gauging techniques to estimate surface recession in real time. Heat flux can be extracted from the measured temperature distribution. Combined together, these ultrasonic techniques will form a sensor system capable of sensing and relating real-world ablator performance to computational models as well as qualifying ablator materials. When developed to maturation, such a sensor system even has applications for in-flight health monitoring.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.99K | Year: 2016
Thermal stir welding (TSW) is a solid state welding process which has shown promise in joining high strength, high temperature metals needed for space launch systems. Although TSW offers an approach which allows more precise control of the temperature, better measurement of temperature in the weld zone is needed. The Industrial Measurement System Inc. (IMS Inc.) and University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) team propose to demonstrate the feasibility of ultrasonic thermometry technique to measure temperature, in real-time, in the fusion zone, during the TSW process. Using sensors attached to the containment plates, precise time-of-flight (ToF) measurements of ultrasound propagating through the fusion zone will be used to estimate temperature. This temperature measurement is non-intrusive and does not influence the thermal transport in the weld zone. Temperature data can be obtained at data rates as high as 1 kHz with the precision of a few degrees Centigrade. Thus, these measurements can be used as feedback controls in in-situ process control strategy for the TSW process. Precise temperature control will enable superior mechanical properties in the weld joint and thus maximize the capability of the TSW weld process.
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2009
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to enhance the automotive friction material manufacturing industry's productivity and efficiency by providing a superior measurement method for quality, consistency and the quantification of noise influencing material properties. Friction material manufacturing is subject to inter-material as well as inter-batch inconsistency that is not adequately quantifiable by existing methods. These inconsistencies adversely affect customer satisfaction, contribute to lost business and consume engineering and testing resources. An ultrasonic-based measurement method capable of measuring material property and consistency data has been employed in destructive laboratory testing with success. Modification of this method for use with intact, as-manufactured friction materials can provide manufacturers with the quality and consistency analysis tools that are currently severely lacking. In this program studies will be conducted to relate ultrasonic data to friction material processing variables and to forge a relationship between ultrasonic test data and noise performance. Ultrasonic measurement can be implemented as both, part of a control scheme to improve the manufacture of friction materials and as a quality assurance method to ensure that noise-prone components do not enter the marketplace. Both lead to increased customer satisfaction and significant gains in manufacturing efficiency. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is improved manufacturing processes for automotive friction materials. The entire automotive industry can attest that brake noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) repairs often dominate warranty claims. More than $100 million is spent annually on brake noise, vibration warranty work in North America alone. In order to reduce such warranty and brake repair costs, more attention is being placed on optimizing NVH performance to eliminate brake squeals, groans and other related issues at the original equipment level. This is especially true considering new vehicle quality perceptions are often driven in part by brake performance and warranty repairs. Although test methods suitable for measuring and controlling friction levels are available, methods to screen parts for the purpose of eliminating NVH problems are inadequate, lacking sufficient specificity to allow definitive screening for the elimination of defective components. These methods are expensive, slow and difficult to implement. Better quality assurance test methods are needed, which market ultrasonic measurement methods are fully capable of exploiting. Ultrasonic methods fit a need in the auto industry that has not been filled, despite much time and effort being devoted to NVH over the past few decades.