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Center Independent Research & Development: SSC IRAD

Batch Fabricated Multifunctional Thermal Sensors for high Temperature Propulsion Testing Environments

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Project Introduction

Accurate measurements of temperature, heat flux, and thermal gradients are essential to rocket propulsion testing. Such data provides important insights to engineers that influence both near-term operational decisions and long-term developmental priorities. However, the associated harsh environments and high temperatures are not suitable for the vast majority of existing thermal instrumentation. Besides being able to function under extremely challenging test conditions, the ideal sensing solution should be able to obtain thermal characterization data while being both non-intrusive and cost effective.

The objective of this work is to design, fabricate, and characterize a multifunctional thermal sensor for high temperature environments suitable for use in rocket propulsion testing. Besides being able to provide accurate and repeatable data, the sensor will be designed to utilize low cost materials, be batch fabrication-compatible, and remain unobtrusive to flow or test operation during use. To achieve this, microfabricated thin film thermocouples and thermopiles of select refractory metals will be strategically integrated onto high-temperature ceramic substrates. The thermocouple features provide sensor temperature directly, while the thermopiles are used to measure heat flux normal to the substrate.

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