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SBIR/STTR

Hydrocarbon Leak Detection Sensor, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Hydrocarbon Leak Detection Sensor, Phase I
FTT is proposing the development of a sensor to detect the presence of hydrocarbons in turbopump Inter-Propellant Seals (IPS). The purpose of the IPS is to prevent the fuel (RP-2) and oxidizer (LOX) from mixing by using an inert purge gas; however, a major risk of the IPS is RP-2 wicking into the buffer or LOX cavities, threatening ignition with the LOX. The proposed sensor will detect the presence of hydrocarbons and signal the health management system to safely shutdown. It will increase the reliability of the IPS, and decrease turnaround time between missions by eliminating the need for manual inspections for hydrocarbons in the IPS. There are two main technical objectives for Phase I. First is to research and test various hydrocarbon indicators to determine which materials can detect the presence of hydrocarbons by either changing color or intensity. The second objective is to research and test various optical viewing devices and data processing devices to determine which mechanism can adequately capture the color or intensity change of the hydrocarbon indicator and signal that the change has occurred. The sensor will be comprised of the feasible components determined during Phase I, and tested in a rig in Phase II. More »

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