Embedded Component Health Management for Rotorcraft

Period of Performance: 10/15/2009 - 04/15/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Microstrain, Inc.
459 Hurricane Lane, Suite 102
Williston, VT 05495
Principal Investigator


Embedded usage tracking of helicopter rotating components, combined with active radio frequency identification (RFID) has the potential to reduce maintenance costs, reduce weight, maximize structural life, & enhance safety. Energy harvesting used with advanced, micro-power wireless sensing electronics, enables the realization of truly autonomous sensing and recording. The objective of this SBIR is to develop a comprehensive and networked health management capability that can be embedded directly into a rotorcraft component. This Phase I SBIR effort includes development and demonstration of embedded energy harvesting radio frequency identification (EH-RFID) nodes with capabilities of unique identification, performance monitoring, on board storage of component usage history, and remaining useful life. One of the unique aspects of this Phase I SBIR proposal is that the EH-RFID sensor nodes will be designed to consume very little energy. This facilitates continuous operation using highly miniaturized energy harvesters. This approach greatly reduces the barriers to embedded sensor installation. EH-RFIDs shall be compatible with existing wireless sensor data aggregators (WSDAs), which feature an open architecture interface to HUMS boxes. However, EH-RFID nodes will also be designed to perform autonomously on aircraft which may not have an installed HUMS system.