To meet the NASA need for measurement of pressure, temperature and strain in a high temperature and radiation environment to support ground testing of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) rockets, RC Integrated Systems LLC (RISL) proposes to develop a novel Fiber Optic Multimodal Sensing (FOMS) System, providing simultaneous measurement of NTP engine exhaust gas temperature, pressure, and structural strain. The FOMS is based on fabrication of unique multimodal sensors along the length of a single hybrid optical fiber and coating of the fiber with a novel ceramic material for extreme high-temperature applications. Due to the unique designs of FOMS sensors and use of commercial off-the-shelf modular components, the FOMS system achieves large measurement range and high accuracy for the measurement of temperature, pressure, and strain. The FOMS system is capable of measuring temperature as high as 1500 degrees C with 0.1 degree C accuracy, strains of up to 10,000 microstrains with 1 microstrain accuracy, and pressure of over 5000 psi with accuracy of 0.2%. In Phase I RISL will demonstrate the FOMS feasibility by fabricating and testing a technology readiness level (TRL)-4 prototype, with the goal of achieving TRL-6 by the end of Phase II.
FOMS can be used in the nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) ground test facility for evaluation of nuclear rocket fuel elements. It can be incorporated into the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (NTREES) at the Marshall Center's Propulsion Research and Development Laboratory. It can also be incorporated into Stennis Space Center (SSC) NTP Ground Test Exhaust Capture System. Future mission applications for this technology include Human Missions to Mars, Science Missions to Outer Planets, and Planetary Defense.
FOMS can be used for measuring turbine engine exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and pressure and structural strain. It can also be used for monitoring EGT and pressure in coal-fired power plants, natural-gas-based power plants, and geothermal plants throughout the nation. FOMS can be used for the measurement of gas temperatures and pressure at any gas flow path for industrial applications.