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Proceedings Paper

Demonstrated survivability of a high-temperature optical fiber cable on a 1500-lb.-thrust rocket chamber
Author(s): Amy L. Sovie
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Paper Abstract

A demonstration of the ability of an existing optical fiber cable to survive the harsh environment of a rocket engine was performed at the NASA Lewis Research Center. The intent of this demonstration was to prove the feasibility of applying fiber optic technology to rocket engine instrumentation systems. Extreme thermal transient tests were achieved by wrapping a high temperature optical fiber, which was cablized for mechanical robustness, around the combustion chamber outside wall of a 1500 lb Hydrogen-Oxygen rocket engine. Additionally, the fiber was wrapped around coolant inlet pipes which were subject to near liquid hydrogen temperatures. Light from an LED was sent through the multimode fiber, and output power was monitored as a function of time while the engine was fired. The fiber showed no mechanical damage after 419 firings during which it was subject to transients from 30 K to 350 K, and total exposure time to near liquid hydrogen temperatures in excess of 990 seconds. These extreme temperatures did cause attenuation greater than 3 dB, but the signal was fully recovered at room temperature. This experiment demonstrates that commercially available optical fiber cables can survive the environment seen by a typical rocket engine instrumentation system, and disclose a temperature-dependent attenuation observed during exposure to near liquid hydrogen temperatures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 February 1993
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 1791, Optical Materials Reliability and Testing: Benign and Adverse Environments, (25 February 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.141153
Show Author Affiliations
Amy L. Sovie, NASA Lewis Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1791:
Optical Materials Reliability and Testing: Benign and Adverse Environments
Roger A. Greenwell; Dilip K. Paul, Editor(s)

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