This NASA Phase I SBIR program would develop conformal nanomembrane based “sensor skins” capable of global shear stress characterization on wind tunnel models as well as operational aerospace vehicles at both room temperature and cryogenic conditions. The team will transition the conformal nanomembrane based shear stress sensors from their current concept to prototype stage products of use to NASA’s ground test facilities. The team will develop an improved mechanical and electrical model of semiconductor nanomembrane based sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for shear measurement applications. The team will perform synthesis of sensor skin materials with optimized transduction, hysteresis and environmental properties, specifically for high Reynold’s number flow and also varying temperature use at both room temperature and cryogenic conditions. A complete analysis of sensor cross-sensitivities and noise sources will be performed to allow optimization of signal-to-noise ratio and practical sensor sensitivity. Support electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data.
The accurate measurement of shear stress using the proposed global shear sensing technology in complex flows is needed for NASA ground test facilities, as current computational methods are insufficient. An appreciation of the instrumentation issues obtained by working with NASA centers would allow improvements in sensor materials, electronics and packaging, and potentially allow the transition of related products to operational vehicles.
Primary customers would be university, government laboratory and industry researchers. Use of developed global shear sensor technology first by NASA, and then by the broader research community, as well as the developers and users of aerospace, hydrospace, land vehicle, civil structure and biomedical flow systems, is envisioned.