Batch Fabricated Multifunctional Thermal Sensors for High Temperature Propulsion Testing Environments
Accurate measurements of temperature, heat flux, and thermal gradients are essential to effective rocket propulsion testing operations. Such data allows for health monitoring, failure analysis, and performance optimization of components under test and critical testing infrastructure elements. From this information, engineers may gain insights that influence both near-term operational decisions and long-term developmental priorities. Existing instrumentation options such as thermocouples, resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermistors, and noncontact optical methods are mature and established within the larger thermal transport community. However, the harsh environments and high temperatures associated with rocket propulsion testing are not suitable for the vast majority of these technologies. Besides being able to function under extremely challenging test conditions, the ideal sensing solution should be able to obtain thermal characterization data while being both non-intrusive and cost effective. Exotic high temperature thermocouples that can operate up to ~2200 degrees Celsius are commercially available, as are certain infrared sensing systems; however, existing high temperature thermocouples are expensive, bulky, and face significant integration challenges with regards to propulsion systems, while infrared systems are many times more costly than other types of temperature measurement approaches. Further, the temperature data provided by the above technologies is insufficient on its own to determine heat flux from critical surfaces, which often times is as important to understanding component health/performance/failure (HPF) as temperature itself. The objective of this work is to design, fabricate, and characterize a multifunctional thermal sensor for high temperature environments (up to 2000 degrees Celsius) suitable for use in rocket propulsion testing. Besides being able to provide accurate and repeatable data, the sensor will be designed to utilize low cost materials, be batch fabrication-compatible, and remain unobtrusive to flow or test operation during use.
Principal Investigator: Moore, Arden -- Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Micromanufacturing, Molecular Science and Nanotechnology
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