En’Urga Inc. demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing a mid-infrared hyperspectral imager as a general-purpose ground testing diagnostic for rocket propulsion systems. The two key issues that were addressed during the Phase I research work are: (1) the feasibility of configuring a high speed mid-infrared hyperspectral imager to obtain emission signals from hydrogen, hydrocarbon, and solid rocket plumes, and (2) the feasibility of obtaining spatially and temporally resolved information from these measurements.
The Phase I results demonstrated conclusively the ability to track temperature, gas concentrations, and particulate volume fractions from these turbulent plumes. The Phase II research work is focused on building a prototype mid-infrared hyperspectral imager, evaluating the imager for different flame configurations, and delivering the system to NASA. There are six tasks required for completing the Phase II objectives. 1) design and fabricate a hyperspectral imager for delivery to NASA, 2) align and calibrate the imager, 3) develop a graphical user interface for the hyperspectral imager, 4) evaluate the hyperspectral imager and the graphical user interface with laboratory-scale flames at En'Urga Inc., 5) demonstrate the sensor suite at Purdue University and our Phase II partner site, and 6) deliver the fully validated system to NASA Space Stennis Center. It is anticipated that at the end of the Phase II project, the prototype system can be directly used in the Stennis Space Center's test facilities to characterize rocket motors as well as supersonic and hypersonic propulsion systems.
The hyperspectral imager will provide planar temperature, gas concentration, and particulate volume fraction with high temporal and spatial resolution. The primary NASA application for the proposed hyperspectral imager is to provide validation data for rocket propulsion systems. The Phase II customized prototype instrument that will be delivered to NASA can be directly utilized in the propulsion test facility at NASA Stennis Space Center. The proposed system can also be used for the quality assurance of rocket engines.
The primary commercial application of the hyperspectral imager will be to obtain data in rocket and aircraft engines and exhaust plumes. Such data are required to develop advanced propulsion systems. Potential customers include both commercial and military aerospace propulsion and aircraft engine organizations. A secondary market is to study combustion in research laboratories.