Distributed Leak Detection System Using Structure-Borne Noise

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNJ07JB40C
Agency Tracking Number: 060498
Amount: $99,972.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2007
Solitcitation Year: 2006
Solitcitation Topic Code: T5.02
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Invocon, Inc.
19221 IH 45 South - Suite 530, Conroe, TX, 77385-8703
Duns: 782566418
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jonathan Sumners
 Principal Investigator
 (281) 292-9903
Business Contact
 Mary Pate
Title: Vice-President
Phone: (281) 292-9903
Email: pate@invocon.com
Research Institution
 Iowa State University
 Not Available
 1138 Pearson Hall
Ames, IA, 50011
 (515) 294-5225
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Manned spacecraft are vulnerable to air leaks caused by micrometeorite and space debris impact. The ability to detect and quickly locate and mitigate a pressure vessel breach is critical to the safety of any long duration spacecraft, such as the International Space Station or a proposed lunar base or mission to Mars. Current NASA protocol for finding a spacecraft leak uses a handheld ultrasonic directional microphone, similar to those widely deployed industrially, to detect the 40 kHz airborne ultrasonic hiss generated by the downstream leak turbulence. However, known limitations exist regarding the use of airborne ultrasonic emissions for locating leaks in the spacecraft environment because the downstream side of the leak occurs into the vacuum of space, creating reduced leak noise inside the pressure vessel. Blockages of the transmission of airborne ultrasonic energy by structural components, avionics, and equipment racks also limit the detection range of such systems. An alternative approach that we propose is to monitor the spacecraft structure itself---the pressure vessel skin---for leak-generated surface-borne ultrasound by means of a flexible and modular electronics package with fully integrated surface sensor arrays, data acquisition electronics, and radio frequency communication capabilities.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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