Microwave Microscopy for High Temperature Blade Monitoring

Period of Performance: 01/28/2011 - 11/01/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Quest Integrated, Inc.
19823 58th Place S
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator


We propose a microwave microscopy for blade health measurement of aircraft engines at high temperature. Its designs will efficiently insulate the sensor components from the combustion heat without sacrificing the measurement sensitivity and accuracy. The microwave sensor is very sensitive to the blade movement and provides information to calculate the blade tip clearance dimension and blade rotation speed. Blade vibration measurement and analysis is conducted through multiple sensors distributed in the radial and axial directions. In this proposal, the technical paths/tasks are discussed in detail and some theoretical analysis is also provided. BENEFIT: The proposed microwave microscopy can meet the requirements for blade tip clearance measurement, blade speed measurement and vibration measurement to improve the turbine performance in terms of higher fuel efficiency, lower maintenance cost, less emission, and lower noise. It can be used in aircraft maintenance and monitoring for both the US military and the civil aircraft industry. The other industry that will greatly benefit from this technology is power generation who has the same needs for the blade monitoring as the aircraft engine industry. The proposed sensor can be slightly modified to be used as microwave non-destructive inspection tools for both metal and dielectric materials. Applications include non-contact inspection of crack, corrosion, and bubble flaws in aircraft structures, bridge, road, and building materials.