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Propulsion Health Monitoring System for Increased Blade Durability

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-20-P-1012
Agency Tracking Number: FX20A-TCSO1-0058
Amount: $499,987.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF20A-TCSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.A
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-09-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-09-30
Small Business Information
1736 W. Paul Dirac Drive, Suite 113
Tallahassee, FL 32310-1111
United States
DUNS: 080241960
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Joshua Mcconkey
 (407) 491-2442
Business Contact
 Reamonn Soto
Phone: (850) 321-5993
Research Institution
 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
 Mark Ricklick
1 Aerospace Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3910
United States

 (407) 572-7083
 Nonprofit College or University

During AFWERX STTR Phase I, Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc. (Sensatek) and Research Institution (RI), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), engaged over 1,500 Air Force stakeholders that resulted in over 160 customer discovery interviews, discovered that the uncertainty involved in managing engine operations is one of the most attributing factors to the mission capable aircraft readiness. Air Force legacy aircraft weapon systems are being pushed beyond their design limits from use in military operations. This creates a vulnerability in safety and aircraft fleet readiness by exposing the engines to premature turbine blade failure, and in some cases catastrophic failure that resulted in loss of life. This causes the aircraft to be unavailable for flight due to the maintainers having to remove engine off wing and replace with a spare. In some cases, the engine with damaged blades can be shipped back to the engine maker or the depot managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) for maintenance, where engine can be out of service up to one year before being placed back on wing. Also, due to the uncertainty and complexities around obtaining blade metal temperature during propulsion system design and test, design and test engineers have used a temperature and strain dependent algorithm to predict the maintenance cycle on the engines. These algorithms consider data mostly taken from hot gas path temperature sensors that only have a 20% chance of survivability in the hot section of an engine. During Phase 2, Sensatek will demonstrate a propulsion health monitoring system (PHMS) for increased blade durability for Air Force stakeholders AFLCMC, AEDC, and AFRL, with participation from engine maker General Electric (GE) and Northrop Grumman. Sensatek’s solution features on-blade sensors applied as multi-functional thin film erosion-resistant coatings to enable continuous and real-time, resonant frequency-based measurement of temperature and strain in-situ on rotating turbine blades.  The sensors are air plasma sprayed directly on blades and do not require a battery source or cable from being passive. The probe antenna is inserted into the engine port provided by AEDC and AFRL. The antenna probe is used to transmit and receive the RF signals from the sensors. The Software Defined Radio (SDR) provides the transceiving circuit that enables the high-speed interrogation of the sensors on rotating blades at 17,000 rpm. The software reports and exports temperature and strain in real-time. Phase 1 objectives: (1) Demonstrate 200% time-reduction in post processing data with high speed telemetry electronics software. (2) Demonstrate 1% increase in accuracy for in-situ measurements. (3) Demonstrate 300% increased survivability of hot section components

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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