NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: A7.03-8825 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 013174 )
A Non-Intrusive Radar Sensor for Engine Vibration Monitoring

Vibration is a critical indicator of the onset of failure within turbine engines. The ability to accurately detect and classify vibration can significantly improve the maintenance cycle by providing early warning of failure. Currently, it is difficult for vibration sensors to operate within the harsh, high temperature environments found in turbine engines. Radatec is proposing the development of a new type of non-intrusive vibration sensor, based on radar/microwave technology.

A radar-based sensor allows measurements to be made non-intrusively from several inches of standoff allowing the sensor to directly interrogate rotating parts where it is impossible to attach a contact sensor. Using microwaves also has several advantages over other means of engine monitoring?capacitive, optical, and eddy current?in both precision, cost, and ease of implementation.

Radatec is seeking $70,000 in Phase I SBIR funding to transition the technology from a laboratory prototype to a field-testable sensor. This sensor will be used for a wide variety of data collection and will serve as a technology demonstration of using radar waves as a non-intrusive, engine vibration sensor for measuring components inside a turbine engine.

Capital equipment maintenance costs represent a significant portion of industrial operating expenses across all production industries. An increasingly popular approach, known as condition-based maintenance (CBM), is emerging as an effective strategy to reduce overall maintenance costs. CBM employs systems that monitor equipment so that maintenance is performed on a ?just-in-time? basis?ensuring that maintenance is not performed earlier than necessary and that machines do not fail catastrophically.

Vibration sensors provide the most important information and are the ?eyes and ears? of these condition-based maintenance systems. Current sensors are unable to cost effectively monitor machinery in many situations that involve moving parts, debris, or harsh environments. The sensors based on this research will compete in the $850 million CBM market (Frost & Sullivan), of which vibration sensors represent 20-30%.

Radatec?s core radar sensing technology?based on sub-wavelength motion measurement using microwaves?is a fundamentally new means of cost effectively measuring vibration with wide applications. This technology has distinct advantages other competing sensors. These sensors will be especially useful in jet engines, turbine engines in power plants and factories, as well as monitoring of machines in the petroleum, electronics, chemical, and other industries with difficult environments where current sensors are inadequate.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Scott Billington
5453 Trumpet Vine Trail
Mableton , GA   30126 - 5648

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
5453 Trumpet Vine Trail
Mableton , GA   30126 - 5648

Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44