Usrey, M., Harsh, K., Brand, A., McKown, R. et al., "Smart, In Situ, Wide Range Pressure Sensor for Advanced Engine Controls," SAE Int. J. Engines 7(4):1619-1628, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2167.
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is pursuing development of advanced, distributed, intelligent, adaptive engine controls and engine health monitoring systems. The goals this pursuit are enhancing engine performance, safety, affordability, operability, and reliability while reducing obsolescence risk. The development of smart, high-bandwidth, high-temperature-operable, wide-range, pressure/temperature multi-sensors, which addresses these goals, is discussed. The resulting sensors and packaging can be manufactured at low cost and operate in corrosive environments, while measuring temperatures up to 2,552 °F (1,400 °C) with simultaneous pressure measurements up to 1,000 psi (68 atm). Such a sensor suite provides unprecedented monitoring of propulsion, energy generation, and industrial systems. The multi-sensor approach reduces control system weight and wiring complexity, design time, and cost, while increasing accuracy and fault tolerance. In situ pressure sensors reduce size and weight while eliminating failures associated with hypo-tube fouling. High-bandwidth sensors support advanced compressor and combustor control schemes that facilitate higher thrust, reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions. Smart sensors are a key enabling technology for distributed engine control which is an important architectural paradigm shift to achieve increased flexibility, scalability, fault tolerance and performance while reducing weight, lifecycle costs and obsolescence risk. Current efforts include combining the sensor technology with other high-temperature electronics to produce smart sensors for distributed engine controls, capacitive transducer elements with increased dynamic bandwidth, and advanced high-temperature sensor packaging technologies. Test results demonstrating technology readiness level (TRL) 6 are reported herein.