Developing Improved High-Reliability “Smart” Designs for High Temperature Turbine Engine Sensors

Period of Performance: 06/23/2014 - 03/26/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sporian Microsystems, Inc.
515 Courtney Way Suite B
Lafayette, CO 80026
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


ABSTRACT: A significant challenge in developing aerospace engine and vehicle sensor systems is reliability. The issues involve multiple considerations, including the use environment, materials, architecture, redundancy, and communication. The fielded reliability of state-of-the-art (SOA) sensor technology, including active and passive sensors, has not correspondingly kept pace with new engine designs. Reliability performance in harsh fielded conditions is a limiting factor in achieving high reliability and low maintainability in control systems for new platforms. It is desirable to improve advanced sensor system reliability by design and evaluation of new approaches that accommodate existing hardware and software architectures to the maximum extent practical. There is a need to investigate passive and active redundancy approaches in smart sensor design, enhanced environmental capability, improved mechanical design. Sporian Microsystems currently has a developed high temperature (1350C) smart temperature/pressure sensor being testing by DOD and turbine engine OEMS. The objective of the proposed work is to evaluate methods to improve exist hardware reliability though the use of advanced hardware, electronics, and firmware/software methods. This Phase I effort will include: working with turbine OEM technical partners to guide Phase I hardware development; evaluating methodologies, and experimentally testing/demonstrating the effects on hardware reliability. BENEFIT: Smart sensing concepts can employ numerous methods to increase reliability including measuring electrical signals directly in mitigating and flagging environmental effects such as corrosion and wear and increasing reliability and reducing associated maintenance costs. Fixed wing and rotorcraft engines would benefit significantly by having a smart sensors to enable distributed engine control. The conditions in this application are harsh, and sensors must be able to withstand high temperatures, high pressures, fuel and exhaust. The technology and sensor product described in this proposal would allow exactly that, while existing sensors fall well short of the application s demand. Commercial applications abound for the successful results of this proposal in commercial and military jet and helicopter aircraft engine industries, which are made up of companies such as Pratt & Whitney, GE, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce. Additional potential market areas include: marine propulsion, rail transport, rocketry, land based power generation turbines, downstream crude oil refining, oil shale conversion, and government and academic laboratories.