NASA SBIR 01-II Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: H3.07-9502 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012497 )
PROPOSAL TITLE: Distributed Fiber Optic Sensors for Space-Based Nuclear Reactors

Luna Innovations has successfullly completed all of the Phase I objectives. A Distributed Grating Demodulation System (DGDS) was constructed and tested using radiation-resistant fiber. Temperatue sensors were produced and calibrated. Two housings were constructed that allow an all-welded pressure boundary penetration. Radiation testing was successfully conducted on sensing fiber in a combined high-neutron and gamma environment. The key technological advantage offered by the sensors developed under this program is their ability to be highly multiplexed, allowing the placement of literally thousands of sensors along a single optical fiber.

There are three strategic objectives for the Phase II: 1) Fully validate the DGDS technology for space reactor applications, 2) Expand the application base for DGDS sensor technology, and 3) Develop strategy for commercial development. The primary objective is to finalize sensor designs using specifications obtained from NASA and industry partners so that prototypes can be constructed. Resolving high temperature operation is a major portion of this objective. The application base will be expanded by designing sensors that can measure temperature, strain, pressure, and flow. Luna has an extremely successful track record in commercial development, having spun off four successful companies dedicated to the commercialization of technologies developed at Luna Innovations.

The commercial product under development is a fiber optic-based highly multiplexed sensor suite. Sensor types will include temperature, strain, pressure, and flow. The nature of the Distributed Grating Demodulation System (DGDS) upon which this suite is based, allows the placement of thousands of sensors along a single optical fiber. A four channel system can easily read out 20,000 separate sensors with a spatial resolution less than 1.0cm. Commercial development efforts during the Phase I have uncovered numerous commercial applications for this system including:

1.) SAFE-100 and SAFE-400 Reactor core test prototypes
2.) Reusable Launch Vehicle surface temperature monitoring
3.) Turbine structural monitoring
4.) In-core experiments requiring temperature sensing
5.) Temperature monitoring inside of electrical machines such as generators and motors
6.) Pipeline health monitoring for steam lines piping

The development of the system under this program can address several markets for nuclear reactors, reactor test beds, steam and gas turbines, aircraft health monitoring, structural monitoring, and other applications. Luna?s initial market focus will be on the nuclear power and aerospace industry, with secondary focus in the test reactors market. Both of these markets show superb growth over the next decade.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert S. Fielder
Luna Innovations Incorporated
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg , VA   24060 - 6657

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Luna Innovations Incorporated
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg , VA   24060 - 6657

Form Printed on 05-09-02 16:37