IC2 Successfully Concludes NASA Phase II Contract – MEMS Skin Friction Sensor

Posted by Steve Horowitz on May 14, 2015 2:28:00 AM

CSSS Systems

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. 

Topics: Press Release, Flow Sensing, Wind Tunnel, Skin Friction, Shear Stress

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About IC2

IC2  builds on two decades of research and rigorous testing to deliver scientific-grade precision sensors that push the envelope of aerospace measurement accuracy and performance. IC2’s precision sensors and instrumentation are designed from the ground up to meet the challenging environments of the aerospace industry.

From wind tunnels and other ground test facilities to flight test platforms, IC2 delivers scientific-grade measurement tools that provide unprecedented performance, including:

  1. Higher bandwidth and dynamic range
  2. Greater accuracy and precision
  3. Higher spatial resolution
  4. Ability to operate in environments considered too extreme for most sensors 

Contact us now to get more information about our services and products, place an order or to discuss how we can customize any of our products to meet your particular needs.