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Optical Engineering

Fiber-optic temperature profiling for thermal protection system heat shields
Author(s): Richard J. Black; Joannes M. Costa; Livia Zarnescu; Drew A. Hackney; Behzad Moslehi; Kara J. Peters
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Paper Abstract

To achieve better designs for spacecraft heat shields for missions requiring atmospheric aero-capture or entry/reentry, reliable thermal protection system (TPS) sensors are needed. Such sensors will provide both risk reduction and heat-shield mass minimization, which will facilitate more missions and enable increased payloads and returns. This paper discusses TPS thermal measurements provided by a temperature monitoring system involving lightweight, electromagnetic interference-immune, high-temperature resistant fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors with a thermal mass near that of TPS materials together with fast FBG sensor interrogation. Such fiber-optic sensing technology is highly sensitive and accurate, as well as suitable for high-volume production. Multiple sensing FBGs can be fabricated as arrays on a single fiber for simplified design and reduced cost. Experimental results are provided to demonstrate the temperature monitoring system using multisensor FBG arrays embedded in a small-size super-light ablator (SLA) coupon which was thermally loaded to temperatures in the vicinity of the SLA charring temperature. In addition, a high-temperature FBG array was fabricated and tested for 1000°C operation, and the temperature dependence considered over the full range (cryogenic to high temperature) for which silica fiber FBGs have been subjected.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 October 2016
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 55(11) 114101 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.55.11.114101
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 55, Issue 11
Show Author Affiliations
Richard J. Black, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) (United States)
Joannes M. Costa, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) (United States)
Livia Zarnescu, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) (United States)
Drew A. Hackney, North Carolina State University (United States)
Behzad Moslehi, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) (United States)
Kara J. Peters, North Carolina State University (United States)

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