This NASA Phase I SBIR program would develop self-diagnosing nanomembrane based pressure sensors for flight test applications. The team has demonstrated the feasibility of nanomembrane transducer materials for the measurement of high frequency dynamic shear and normal pressure. Semiconductor nanomembrane sensor skins are thin, flexible, mechanically and chemically robust materials that may be patterned in two dimensions to create multi-sensor element arrays and calibration standards that can be embedded into flight test system structures. The team will transition self-diagnosing pressure sensors from their current concept to prototype stage products of use to the NASA’s flight test facilities. NIST-traceable standards and methodologies will be incorporated to the sensor skins. The team will integrate the self-diagnosing pressure sensors with available industrial platforms, and incorporate multifunctional capabilities into the sensor system, such as system health monitoring and retirement/replacement of sensors.
Miniaturized conformal surface pressure sensors integrated with autonomous self-diagnosis capabilities are greatly needed for NASA flight test facilities. 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. The potential impact of such self-diagnosing sensors is particularly significant based on recent news in the aerospace industry. Specifically, if airplanes are equipped with such sensors, pilots can activate the self-diagnosing function to periodically confirm status.