FONTANA, Calif., 20 May 2016. Modern military and commercial gas turbine engines are subject to reduced durability, performance, and safety when significant amount of sand, dust, and volcanic ash are ingested into the engines. Prolonged sand and dust exposure of gas turbine engines leads to component degradation and ultimately engine failure. As of today, no commercial off-the-shelf particulate sensor is in use because of the special design and difficult requirements for operation and performance in this harsh environment, according to Dr. Hai Lin of Hal Technology in Fontana, California.
Engineers at Hal Technology, under the support of Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, have developed and demonstrated a compact, lightweight, rugged, high-temperature-capable, flush-mountable, fiber-optic sensor probe for real-time particulate loading rate measurement – relevant for engine health monitoring.
The sensor uses an innovative combination of optical particle sensing technologies and fiber-optic packaging in a rugged, compact, and non-intrusive optical design. The fiber-optic approach separates the electronic components from the extreme harsh environment to prevent direct exposure. The sensor detects light scattering from moving particles as optical pulsed signals whose amplitudes are proportional to size and whose number is proportional to concentration. This sensor technology can determine particle size, distribution, concentration and further be extended for composition.
The sensor probe provides good sensitivity to particle size (down to 1µm or less) and has large dynamic range (up to 1mm). The current compact sensor probe head is about a quarter inch in diameter, a little over one inch long and weighs less than 0.1 ounce, and allows plug-and-play through a borescope port for non-intrusive, short-distance standoff particle detection in gas turbine engines. After calibration, particle load rate tests with standard ISO medium test dust matched distribution data well and high temperature tests showed negligible change in sensor response.
The sensor will provide real-time awareness and early warning of entering a hazardous flight zone, facilitate engine protection, reduce maintenance cycles and prolong engine life and could also be the basis for many new applications in other (turbine and non-turbine) aircraft engines, gear boxes, and liquid (oil or lubrication fluid) lines to reduce their service needs and maintain safety.
While continuing to advance this technology for particulate composition determination, Hal Technology is pursuing a licensing agreement or partnership with sensor or engine manufacturers to have the sensor integrated into engine heath management systems of the future.
Hal Technology (HalTech) is specialized in developing environmental sensors and instruments. With operations in the United States, we have established channel partners in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. Our products have been sold in over 60 countries. HalTech is aggressively focused on the semiconductor, data storage, life sciences, aerospace, environmental, and indoor air quality market segments. HalTech is continually developing products and providing services to meet these ever-changing and demanding applications. The company's vision is to offer innovative and high quality products at more competitive prices to better serve the industries in today's rising economy.
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