Spark Plug Integrated Fiber Optic Sensor System for Internal Combustion Engine Monitoring and Control

Award Information
Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
Optrand, Inc.
3916 Trade Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Marek Wlodarczyk
(313) 971-9712
Business Contact:
() -
Research Institution:
This research addresses critical needs in the areas of electronic control and monitoring of internal combustion engines that require low-cost, durable, accurate, high-temperature viable, and small-size fiber optic pressure sensors for real-time in-cylinder combustion pressure measurement. By employing a novel tapered optical fiber-based sensor design to significantly improve signal modulation levels and by using triple-wavelength0based measurement of optical thin-film interference coating spectral modulations for integrated temperature sensing, we seek to demonstrate a spark plug-integrated and temperature-compensated combustion pressure sensor system that exhibits accuracies better than 2% and operating temperatures up to 550oC. This research addresses high-temperature durability requirements by combining a reliable metal-diaphragm-based design with a hermetically sealed sensor construction. We week to significantly reduce costs of optoelectronic transceivers by developing a low-cost, tapered optical fiber bundle-based coupler design. This approach enables use of low-cost light sources, and alleviates critical alignment requirements. These critical issues have previously hampered fiber optic sensor applications in automotive industry. The multi-wavelength approach compensates for errors induced by factors encountered in an engine setting, such as vibrations, accelerations, and wide ambient temperatures. In Phase I of this research, feasibility of such sensor systems will be demonstrated. Anticipated Benefits: This project will culminate in the development of a low-cost, spark-plug integrated, accurate, durable, error- and temperature-compensated combustion pressure sensor system for internal combustion engine monitoring and closed-loop control applications. The close-loop engine controls based on the in-cylinder pressure information can lead to improved efficiency for fuel saving and pollution reduction, improved reliability, and enormous economical benefits.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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