SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-265 (AirForce)
Title:  Innovative Flight Instrumentation for Hypersonics
Research & Technical Areas:  Air Platform

  Objective:  Develop novel instrumentation methods, hardware, and installation concepts for near-term application to hypersonic vehicle flight testing.
  Description:  The Air Vehicles Directorate is currently involved in developing hypersonic vehicle technologies. Hypersonic flight data are necessary for validating the developed analytical models and hardware. The extreme environment in which the vehicle is intended to operate creates challenges in instrumentation development and/or application. Extremely high temperatures are characteristic of this harsh environment. Temperatures approaching 3,000 F are anticipated. The goals of this program are to develop instrumentation and installation concepts to determine vehicle structural and environmental conditions. Desired data include surface pressure, heat flux, temperature, strain, and recession rate. Concept development should focus on application to high-temperature composite structures while maintaining the integrity of the aeroshell in an extreme environment. Boundary layer transition is an important parameter to the performance of hypersonic vehicles. It is critical that it be measured in hypersonic flight both on insulating and metallic aeroshells. The transition instrumentation, preferably heat transfer measurements, should have sufficiently high frequency response to resolve transition changes due to vehicle maneuvers, such as roll or pitch motions, and should have sufficient sensitivity to resolve the changes in heat transfer associated with these maneuvers. Techniques for inverse heat transfer methods from thermocouple measurements may also be considered.

  PHASE I: Develop concepts for hypersonic vehicle instrumentation. Candidate approaches will be conceptualized and subjected to thermal and/or structural analysis to assess accuracy, durability, and compatibility with the vehicle structure. Prototypes will be designed, fabricated, and tested.
  PHASE II: Promising concepts from Phase I will be developed. Phase II will involve fabrication and test of prototypes in a relevant environment.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: Space access and hypersonic cruise vehicles. Commercial application: Hot gas flow data for furnaces and jet engines.

  References:  1. R.D. Neumann, P.J. Erbland, and L.O. Kretz, “Instrumentation of Hypersonic Structures,” A Review of Past Applications and Needs of the Future, 1988, AIAA 88-2612. 2. Ed Martinez, Ethiraj Venkatapathy, and Tomo Oishi, "Current Developments In Future Planetary Probe Sensors For TPS," 3. Air Vehicles Directorate Website,

Keywords:  hypersonic, flight instrumentation, sensors, temperature, pressure, heat flux, recession rate.

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