Novel Sensor for Real-Time Particle Loading Measurements in Operational Gas-Turbine Engines
Sand and dust ingestion can be a significant issue for military aircraft operating in desert environments. For gas-turbine engines, ingested sand erodes engine components such as turbine blades, accelerating engine wear. Currently, no operational systems exist for tracking sand and dust loading in gas-turbine engines. We propose to develop an Optical Particle Counting, Sizing, and Composition (OPCSC) system for operational gas-turbine engines. The OPCSC will be located inside the engine and will measure the loading rate and composition of particles ingested by the engine. Engine manufacturers can correlate these data with engine wear and performance degradation to customize inspection and maintenance cycles and reduce costs. The sensor could also be used as a control input for auxiliary particle separation systems to modulate their operating state as warranted by current conditions, potentially leading to direct performance benefits for the engine. In Phase I, we will define requirements for the OPCSC system, develop a prototype OPCSC, and demonstrate OPCSC performance in a laboratory environment. In Phase II, we will develop, validate, and field test an operational version of the OPCSC system. This technology has significant transition and commercialization potential for military and commercial aviation applications.
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