Fiber-Optics Based Pressure and Temperature Sensors for Harsh Environments

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Virginia Tech

Monitoring accurate temperature and pressure profiles in harsh environments is currently in high demand in aerospace gas turbine engines and nuclear reactor simulators. Having the ability to measure both quantities continuously over a region, without thermal coupling, using a sensor with a small size (envelope) is also highly desirable. Currently available MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) provide effective small scale pressure and temperature measurement devices, however, they have only been shown to be effective up to 600C and lack the ability to perform distributed measurements unless combined with fiber-optic techniques. In general, fiber-optics provide many advantages over electrical based sensors and are the ideal choice for high temperature regimes and distributed sensing. In this thesis, preliminary designs and suggested future work are presented for a sensor built within an 3.175 mm radius envelope and capable of distributed pressure and temperature sensing up to temperatures reaching 800C. Finite element analysis via ANSYS, along with analytical verification models have been used for the design evolution. Diaphragm based designs, seem to provide easy fabrication methods and good sensitivity, however, for this design to be realized at high temperature operation, a robust bonding method must be chosen to avoid unwanted deformation due to misfit strains.

Sensor, Pressure, Temperature, Fiber optics, Finite element analysis, Bellows, Diaphragm Sensors, Harsh Environments, Elliptical diaphragm