Period of Performance: 05/02/2000 - 08/24/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Test Devices, Inc.
571 Main Street
Hudson, MA 01749
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


This Phase II proposal describes the development of a turbine engine disk health monitoring (DHM) system that can detect disk cracks and tracks their growth from flight cycle, in real time. It is built on a hardware/software system that has been used for the past 5 years to detect rotor and blade cracks under transient speed conditions in a spin pit. The system has reliably detected cracks as small as 0.015" in size, and has been consistently more sensitive than FPI. During Phase I Test Devices demonstrated that this system has sufficient damage detection sensitivity to perform as an effective on-board DHM system. The Phase II program will develop the system to make it suitable for detection and tracking of cracks in a complete engine. In Phase II the sensors and software will be tested in an engine environment and its performance demonstrated. The first series of tests will be conducted on an engine that is operated for other purposes, or on surplus engines acquired for this program and operated at Test Devices Inc. Suitable engines are operated by the Air Force Academy. In addition, a surplus TF-41 has been located and is available for the purposes of this program. Allison Advanced Development Company (AADC) has expressed strong interest in this technology. Their interest is for possible application on the Lockheed Martin JSF Lift Fan that is a high work rotor operating in a high FOD environment. AADC has expressed interest in participation in the various elements of the DHM system development. Discussions are under way with Pratt & Whitney and General Electric regarding application to other JSF systems. Phase III commercialization paths include implementing complete flight worthy crack detection systems on military and commercial aircraft. Successful development has very high payoff, since the system can be used for the safe extension of the lives of aging engine disks while simultaneously enhancing flight safety. Implementation requires no significant changes to the existing engines. The system can be retrofitted to almost any engine in the DOD fleet.