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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Advanced Fiber-Optic Instrumentation for Early Flight Fission Research, Phase II

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Advanced Fiber-Optic Instrumentation for Early Flight Fission Research, Phase II
By properly characterizing the thermo-mechanical activity within non-nuclear test articles, nuclear operation can be more accurately controlled and confidence in thermo-mechanical simulations will be high. However, the ability to characterize non-nuclear test core simulators is currently limited by the lack of instrumentation options available for measurements of parameters of interest such as temperature, strain, and pressure. The key to obtaining sufficient data lies in distributing large numbers of sensors throughout the core to monitor these parameters in real-time. Unfortunately, this type of measurement is not currently feasible. RTDs and thermocouples provide only single point measurements and, because of logistical problems associated with limited physical accessibility, cannot be used in any significant numbers and therefore serve to limit knowledge of the dynamic and complex thermal system represented by the test core. In the pursuit of early flight fission, more detailed measurements are needed for modeling the behavior of the core during operation. To address this need, Luna Innovations proposes to develop fiber-optic instrumentation sensors capable of high temperature operation based on Luna's unique distributed sensing technology, which uses fiber Bragg gratings as the sensing transducers for temperature, strain, and pressure measurements. More »

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