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Modular Hypergolic Leak Detector


OBJECTIVE: The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is seeking innovative concepts and products to improve the safety and logistics challenges of hypergolic propellant based propulsion systems. This includes sensor technology and leak mitigation technologies. The overall goal of projects selected under this topic will be to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to enable safe storage and deployment of liquid hypergolic propulsion (LHP) systems for ballistic missile defense interceptors. Specifically this research and development goal is to develop a modular Hypergolic leak detector that has the capability to be reconfigured depending upon the detections requirement at hand. This year"s effort is a focused development of high reliability, low power and low cost transducer element that would be able to detect rapid changes in concentration of hypergolic fuels and oxidizers for use within a tactical Leak Detection Subsystem. DESCRIPTION: A number of fielded missile systems use hypergolic fuels and oxidizers as a means of propulsion. A significant shortfall in this area is the inability to accurately verify any leaks of the hypergolic fuels or oxidizers. The key to the utility of this detector is not only a low threshold for detection, but reliable and accurate detection of the target contaminant in all required environments. A true"leak"of significance should result in a fairly rapid change in the concentration of the target chemical inside the canister. Once a threshold for a target contaminant has been reached, the transducer would change states to activate a separate alarm device. The chemicals the unit should be sensitive to include any of the common Hypergolic rocket fuels and oxidizers, which include but are not limited to Monomethyl Hydrazine, MON-25, and others. The maximum threshold for a target contaminant shall be less than 100 ppm at all required environments. The Hypergolic Chemical Transducer (HCT) shall be a small compact device less than one inch in diameter and two inches in length including all external interfaces for both wired and wireless connection. The HCT shall be a very low power device capable of being battery powered and using less than 0.3 milli-watts average (<5 milli-watts peak). The mean time between false alarms for the HCT shall be greater than 12500 hrs. Reliability shall be greater than 8000 hrs MTBF. The HCT shall be able to be deployed and operate for six continuous months of operation or one year of storage without a change of its battery. The Hypergolic Chemical Transducer shall operate through temperatures from -46 to +71 deg C in an Air and/or dry nitrogen environment consisting of less than 65 ppmv water. The HCT shall have a shelf life of no less than four years including one year of continuance use within specified environments. The selected provider will be expected to work closely with the THAAD Product Office Logistics Division and the prime contractor to accurately define interfaces and tolerances in order to facilitate infusion of the HTC into the fielded weapons system. PHASE I: Conduct experimental and or modeling efforts to demonstrate proof-of-principle of the proposed technology to detect and characterize leaks in the required environments. Demonstration of transducer"s technology"s ability to meet the require accuracy, reliability, power and supportability requirements. PHASE II: Build and demonstrate the functionality of a prototype HTC and its ability to be integrated in a reference Hypergolic leak detection system. Demonstrate applicability to both selected military and commercial applications. PHASE III: The cost avoidance realized by the Missile Defense Agency and the services by employing this technology would be significant. Hence, the anticipated Phase III program customers would include a wide range of current interceptor programs. During Phase III the effort calls for engineering and development, test and evaluation, and hardware qualification. COMMERCIALIZATION: The proposed technology would be anticipated to have a high level of interest as a diagnostic tool in the area of explosives, commercial launch rocket propellants.
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