NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Aviation Safety and Security; Fire, Icing, Propulsion and Secure CNS Aircraft Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Wireless In-situ Nondestructive Inspection of Engine Rotor Disks with Ultrasonic Guided Waves

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20855-2785
(301) 294-5221

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
George   Zhao
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400
Rockville, MD  20855-2785
(301) 294-5232

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The structural integrity of jet engine turbine or fan rotor disks is vital for aviation safety. Cumulative cracks at critical loading and high stress areas, if not detected and repaired in time, may lead to catastrophic failure. Traditional methods such as Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection (FPI) and eddy current are limited to point-by-point measurement and are very time consuming. Disassembly of the engine is required for each inspection, which in turn may cause maintenance induced problems.

We propose a wireless in-situ ultrasonic guided wave health monitoring approach. It applies light, thin, high temperature leave-in-place ultrasonic guided wave circumferential patch transducers around the root of the disk, and a pair of innovative tube antennae that wirelessly couple the transducers to the inspection instruments. Guided waves travel in the disk for crack inspection, and the inspection could be done even when the disk is rotating. Phase I results clearly demonstrate that the guided wave is very sensitive to tiny cracks on a rotating aluminum disk, and the tube antennae worked well. The envisioned system can inspect a relatively large area, has minimal effect on the rotor performance, instantaneously provides reliable and quantitative data such as crack location and severity level, and minimize and eventually eliminate the need for structural disassembly.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
It was reported that one-half to two-thirds of the maintenance costs of a turbine engine is attributable to the repair and replacement of the hot section high-value parts. The efficient and reliable in-situ DNI method addressed in this proposal will greatly facilitate fault detection and condition assessment of the turbine engine, and hence make possible condition-based maintenance instead of scheduled teardown inspection. The proposed system is applicable to gas turbine engines of both military and commercial aircraft, and other turbine engines. The technology is novel by itself and will have many practical applications in other structural diagnostics and prognostics applications.
NASA applications

The ability to detect and characterize defects in an early and accurate manner is always critical for reducing cost and improving safety for many NASA systems such as propulsion system, aircraft frames and wings, etc. At the end of Phase II, we will have a small, light weight, low cost, low power consumption and robust system with both hardware and software integrated together for various defect detection and localization. The success of such a system will enhance aviation safety while reducing the need for unnecessary scheduled maintenance.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In-situ health monitoring and fault diagnosis is equally important for many military and commercial systems such as aircraft, automobiles, trains, home appliances, nuclear reactors, etc. The system can either perform continuous monitoring for the critical high strength components or switch on-off when needed.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Aircraft Engines
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04