Instrumentation for hypersonic, air-breathing engines

Period of Performance: 06/24/2010 - 03/24/2011


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

4455 Genesee Street
Buffalo, NY 14225
Institution POC


Luna Innovations Incorporated and CURBC (Calspan University of Buffalo Research Center) are proposing to develop miniature, high-speed, high-temperature, fiber-optic pressure sensors that will fill the void that currently exists between ground and flight test instrumentation. The sensors small size (ø 0.007 ) and high-sensitivity (better than ±0.01 psi) combined with a high-speed fiber-optic demodulation system will enable data to be taken during short ground tests and the extended high-temperature performance enables the same sensors to be used for flight applications. During Phase I, Luna and CURBC will demonstrate the feasibility of the system through extensive modeling and laboratory testing. During Phase II the team will validate the system during ground testing of an appropriate engine component, demonstrating the performance of the sensors. BENEFIT: The proposed system has commercial applications for research and development of emerging propulsion and airframe designs. The sensors will aid researchers in measuring transition and high frequency aerodynamic effects that are currently un-measurable. The demodulation system will have a broad range of applications with sensors that are currently being developed for temperature, strain, and pressure measurements in the gas turbine and nuclear industries. While the system would be first developed for the military, it is expected that civilian research organizations, universities, and government laboratories will have a need for the technology. The data obtained from the system will enable safer and more efficient engine designs and monitoring of current engine system control parameters. Once flight qualified, the electronics will be applicable to the commercial aerospace sensing market for use as monitoring and control sensors in turbine engines.