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Structural Sensors for Health Monitoring ofHypersonic Vehicles

Description:

Scope Title:

Advanced Structural Sensors for Hypersonic Vehicle Structures and Materials

Scope Description:

High-speed programs in the United States focus on vehicle design, development, and eventual flight testing, with program success often hinging on the ability to use or adapt limited commercial-off-the-shelf technology for vehicle applications. The limited amount of data in the harsh environments [Ref. 1] of hypersonic flight hinders a program effort in at least four ways: (1) limited data hinders a more complete understanding of vehicle performance in ground/flight testing, (2) it hinders the optimization of vehicle designs, (3) it hinders the ability to quickly assess the flight vehicle readiness for a next flight, and (4) it hinders the ability to recover from potential flight test anomalies more quickly.

 

Instrumentation systems are composed of sensors and systems, with the sensors being devices that detect or respond to a physical property and the systems being the devices that process and record the sensor response. Both sensors and systems must be developed that can survive and operate in the extreme environment of hypersonic flight (e.g., high temperature, vibration, and acoustic environments). 

 

This scope focuses on the development of advanced sensors (contact or noncontact) for structures and materials operating in extreme environments, with application to both airframe and propulsion systems. Such sensors may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • High-temperature strain gauges for static strains in combined loading conditions.
  • Temperature sensor integration on advanced materials and structures.
  • Heat-flux gauges for severe temperature gradients in anisotropic materials.
  • Acoustic noise measurements at high temperature and vibration levels.
  • Vibration measurements at high temperature and acoustic levels.
  • Nondestructive evaluation methods for inspection of large structures made from advanced materials.

Ideas are also sought for improved bonding/adhesion techniques as well as concepts that may include integral sensors and/or “smart” structures.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6

Primary Technology Taxonomy:

  • Level 1 15 Flight Vehicle Systems
  • Level 2 15.2 Flight Mechanics

Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Prototype
  • Hardware

Desired Deliverables Description:

For a Phase I effort, the desired deliverable is a proof-of-concept demonstration of a sensor technology and a midterm report outlining the progress of the effort. Demonstration of the proposed sensor in a relevant hypersonic environment is desired but not required. A summary report is expected at the end of Phase I that describes the research effort’s proof-of-concept testing successes, failures, and the proposed path forward to demonstrate the sensor performance in a relevant hypersonic environment.

 

For a Phase II effort, a maturation of the sensor technology that allows for a thorough demonstration is expected. Ideally, a delivery of a prototype that includes beta-style or better hardware or software that is suitable to work in ground testing and can be proven, via relevant environmental testing, to work in a flight environment. This relevant environmental testing would satisfy NASA’s technical readiness level expectations at the end of Phase II.

 

At the completion of Phase II and a $1M SBIR investment, there will be a strong pull from both NASA and non-NASA organizations to provide resources to demonstrate and mature promising sensor technologies for near-term ground- and flight-test opportunities.

State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

Advancements in high-speed vehicle development are possible if insights can be gained, analyzed, and used to create new technologies. New insights will require an evolution of current measurement techniques as well as novel forms and integration techniques.  

 

Known gaps include large-area distributive sensing techniques on advanced high-temperature material systems in extreme high-speed environments, advanced techniques for capturing all dimensions of system operation and vehicle health (spatial/spectral/temporal), and data analysis/assessment of the vehicle structure current and predicted future health.

Relevance / Science Traceability:

The technologies developed for this scope directly address the technical and capability challenges in Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP) in the areas of Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) and Hypersonic Technology (HT) projects and may also support NASA’s high-enthalpy ground test facilities, including those within the Aerosciences Evaluation and Test Capabilities (AETC) portfolio. 

References:

  1. “Ceramic matrix Composite (CMC) Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) and Hot Structures for Hypersonic Vehicles;” David E. Glass; 15th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Dayton, OH; AIAA-208-2682; April-May 2008; https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20080017096
  2. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp
  3. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp/cst
  4. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp/ht
  5. https://www.nasa.gov/aetc

Scope Title:

Structural Diagnostic and Prognostic Methodologies for Hypersonic Vehicles

Scope Description:

The focus of this scope is the development of advanced methodologies that synthesize data from a range of extreme environment [Ref. 1] structural sensors into not only real-time SHM but also predictions of component maintenance requirements and life estimates. Such a capability could be applied not only to reusable hypersonic aircraft that experience significant thermal, mechanical, vibrational, and acoustic conditions but also potentially to high-enthalpy ground test facilities to guide maintenance and life predictions of key facility components. Such methodology could integrate data from a range of sensor types and locations—from thermocouple, strain gauge, acoustic, and vibrational measurements on structural elements to heat flux, pressure, and shear measurements of the flow field in and around the vehicle (airframe and propulsion). Sensors may directly or indirectly (e.g., via optical measurement) measure environmental conditions. Data may also be available from accelerometers or a flight computer/guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) system that can provide load and flight condition information. Data from sensors will likely be received at a wide range of frequencies, from tens of Hz to hundreds of kHz.

 

The goal of this scope is to synthesize such information over the full lifecycle of structural components into a predictive model that advises on component maintenance requirements and useful life estimates. Such methodologies should consider sensor noise, fault tolerance, robustness, and uncertainty quantification.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6

Primary Technology Taxonomy:

  • Level 1 15 Flight Vehicle Systems
  • Level 2 15.2 Flight Mechanics

Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Prototype
  • Software

Desired Deliverables Description:

For a Phase I effort, at a minimum, a report detailing the methodology for diagnostic and prognostic assessment of a structure using a diverse array of structural sensors is desired. In addition, a plan that describes the proof-of-concept demonstration and evaluation of the proposed SHM effectiveness for a structure is desired. The demonstration plans should identify sensors, test environment, test article concept, and the objectives/plan for evaluating the SHM methodology.

For a Phase II effort, the desired deliverable is to mature the technology through a demonstration of the SHM methodology, with relevant sensors, structures, and environments. Ideally, the deliverable would include a prototype that includes beta-style or better hardware or software that is suitable to work in ground testing and can be proven, via relevant environmental testing, to work in a flight environment. This relevant environmental testing would satisfy NASA’s technical readiness level expectations at the end of Phase II.

At the completion of Phase II and a $1M SBIR investment, there will be a strong pull from both NASA and non-NASA organizations to provide resources to demonstrate and mature promising sensor and data analysis methodologies on available ground- and flight-test opportunities.

State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

With the expected development of reusable hypersonic vehicles, there will be a critical need for advanced methodologies that synthesize data from a range of extreme environment sensors into integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) systems that will support vehicle flight exposure, component maintenance requirements, and life estimates. 

 

Known gaps include the effective use of large-area distributed sensors in extreme high-speed environments to understand the condition of a hypersonic vehicle and predict the remaining life and capabilities of the vehicle structures.

Relevance / Science Traceability:

The technologies developed for this scope directly address the technical and capability challenges in ARMD AAVP in the areas of CST and HT projects and may also support NASA’s high-enthalpy ground test facilities, including those within the AETC portfolio.

References:

  1. Ceramic matrix Composite (CMC) Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) and Hot Structures for Hypersonic Vehicles;” David E. Glass; 15th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Dayton, OH; AIAA-208-2682; April-May 2008; https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20080017096
  2. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp
  3. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp/cst
  4. https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/programs/aavp/ht
  5. https://www.nasa.gov/aetc

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