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Proceedings Paper

Fiber optic oxygen sensor using fluorescence quenching for aircraft inerting fuel tank applications
Author(s): Allen Panahi
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Paper Abstract

On July 18, 2008, the FAA mandated that new aircraft are to include inerting technology to significantly reduce the potential for flammable vapor spaces in center wing fuel tanks. All passenger aircraft constructed since 1991 must also be retrofitted with this technology. This ruling is the result of 18 aircraft that have experienced fuel tank flammable vapor ignition incidents since 1960. Included in these are the TWA 800 and Avianca Flight 203 incidents that resulted in 337 total fatalities. Comprised of heavier hydrocarbon components, jet fuel is much less volatile, with Jet A having a flash point of approximately 100°F and JP-4 having a flash point of approximately 0°F. In contrast, straight-run gasoline has a flash point of approximately -40°F. The flash point is the minimum temperature where a liquid fuel can generate enough vapor to form a flammable mixture with air. If the temperature is below the flash point there isn't enough fuel evaporating to form a flammable fuel-air mixture. Since jet fuel and gasoline have similar flammable concentration limits, gasoline must produce much more vapor at a given temperature to have such a low flash point; hence gasoline is much more volatile than jet fuel. In this paper we explore Fluorescence Technology as applied to the design and development of O2 sensors that can be used for this application and discuss the various test and measurement techniques used to estimate the O2 gas concentration. We compare the various intensity based approaches and contrast them with the frequency domain techniques that measure phase to extract fluorescent lifetimes. The various inerting fuel tank requirements are explained and finally a novel compact measurement system using that uses the frequency heterodyning cross correlation technique that can be used for various applications is described in detail while the benefits are explored together with some test data collected.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7314, Photonics in the Transportation Industry: Auto to Aerospace II, 73140D (5 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.821732
Show Author Affiliations
Allen Panahi, Accro USA LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7314:
Photonics in the Transportation Industry: Auto to Aerospace II
Alex A. Kazemi; Bernard C. Kress, Editor(s)

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