IC2, a pioneer in the development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) based sensors for aerodynamics and aeroacoustics today announced the successful completion of a Phase II SBIR contract from NASA. The technology developed under this contract offers the unique capability to make non-intrusive, direct, simultaneous mean and fluctuating shear stress measurement for subsonic and transonic test applications. The silicon-micromachined, instrumentation-grade sensor enables skin friction measurement with high bandwidth, high resolution, and minimal sensitivity to pressure. The NASA-funded Phase II effort helped to transition a proof-of-concept device into a robust, high-performance measurement system with demonstrated and proven functionality in an operational environment. The sensor system holds promise to transform existing flow control techniques and enable more efficient aerodynamic designs.
We are pleased to have successfully concluded this Phase II effort for NASA, leading us one major step closer to a commercially available skin-friction sensing system.
Prior to the development of this technology, shear-stress and skin-friction sensors relied on indirect measurement approaches, requiring estimation of shear-stress from a known-correlation to another measured value. This leads to increased uncertainty and requires repeated calibration in each test environment. The results from these other systems are often qualitative at best. To overcome these problems of existing sensors, the technology developed under this contract instead uses a direct sensing approach, converting shear-stress directly into a sensor response, drastically reducing measurement uncertainty. The sensor is housed in a robust and compact package with miniature interface electronics that enable flush sensor mounting conformal with test surfaces to minimize flow disturbance. The sensor performance exceeds available products on the market and sets the standard for quantitative skin friction measurements. The Phase II work was carried out in conjunction with the University of Florida.
The progress achieved during this effort led to a separate follow-on Phase III contract that successfully delivered 6 functional prototype sensors systems to NASA Langley Research Center for wind-tunnel testing in March. IC2 is now working towards a modified design suitable for volume production. Click here for more information on this product.