NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A2.01-9605
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion System Emissions and Noise Prediction and Reduction
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Versatile Laser-Induced Incandescence System for Non-Intrusive Measurements of Particle Size and Mass in Aircraft Emissions

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
MetroLaser, Inc.
2572 White Road
Irvine, CA 92614-6236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Thomas P. Jenkins
2572 White Road
Irvine, CA 92614-6236

We propose to develop a versatile and affordable system to measure the average diameter of primary soot particles along with their mass concentration in aircraft engine exhausts. This work will expand upon our recent experience applying laser-induced incandescence (LII) to obtain the first successful quantitative measurements of spatially and temporally resolved, non-intrusive soot particle mass concentration in an aircraft engine test. The proposed system will take advantage of recent research suggesting that particle size can be obtained from the LII decay rate. Advances in laser and photodiode technology should enable compact, inexpensive components to be used. A simple calibration procedure will help minimize the requirements for operator expertise and training. Advanced, experimentally validated algorithms will be used to compute soot particle size and mass, with the results displayed in real time during an engine test. The tasks described in this proposal are essential steps leading to a versatile LII system that can be routinely applied to engine testing programs, and subsequently commercialized. Our goal is to develop an LII system suitable for widespread use; therefore, it will be portable, inexpensive, and easy to operate. The proposed Phase I effort will demonstrate the feasibility of this system.

A successful LII particle sizing and mass instrument could be used by NASA to quantify and classify particulate emissions by size from aircraft engines. Data obtained with the instrument could be used in conjunction with climate models in studies to predict the impact of aircraft-generated aerosols, thus helping to establish goals for aircraft particulate emissions. The LII instrument will complement existing aerosol mass spectrometers by providing in situ measurements of overall particulate mass; whereas the existing extractive sampling techniques contain an inherent uncertainty in the total mass due to loss in the sampling lines.

The proposed technique will find commercial application in a variety of industries needing to comply with particle pollution standards. Examples include automobile, truck, diesel generators, marine and gas turbine industries. This market will eventually expand to include commercial airlines and automobile test stations.