DOD SBIR 24.1 BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
November 29th, 2023
Open Date
January 3rd, 2024
Due Date(s)
February 21st, 2024
Close Date
February 21st, 2024
Topic No.
N241-008

Topic

Oxygen Sensor for Fuel Tank Environment

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the development of an accurate oxygen sensor that can continuously operate in a fuel tank ullage environment with minimal maintenance required. The sensor is intended for use in the On-Board Inert Gas Generator System (OBIGGS) of aircraft fuel tanks, which is used to reduce the risk of fire or explosions. The desired sensor should be able to accurately and continuously measure the oxygen concentration in the fuel tank, maintain a small form factor, and require infrequent maintenance or repairs. It should also be able to withstand the vibration loads and environmental requirements of a typical fighter aircraft flight profile. The project will be conducted in three phases: Phase I involves identifying the mechanism for the oxygen sensor and developing an experimental benchtop design, Phase II focuses on producing an on-aircraft prototype and performing environmental testing, and Phase III involves producing a final design ready for flight test and providing qualification documentation. The technology has potential applications in commercial aircraft fuel tanks and storing commercial flammable liquids. The solicitation is open until February 21, 2024. For more information, visit the solicitation link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sustainment

 

OBJECTIVE: Develop an accurate oxygen sensor that can continuously operate in a fuel tank ullage environment with minimal maintenance required.

 

DESCRIPTION: On-Board Inert Gas Generator System (OBIGGS) is used to inert areas of the aircraft to reduce the risk of fire or explosions. Fuel tanks may utilize OBIGGS for both survivability and lightning protection, which require below 9% and 12% oxygen by volume, respectively. Feedback of the fuel tank ullage oxygen percentage would allow aircrew to select the proper oxygen concentration set-point for the situation, and receive feedback that the threshold has been reached. Due to requiring clean working environments, currently available oxygen sensors are not suitable for a fuel tank application. The desired oxygen sensor would be able survive in a fuel tank environment, accurately and continuously measure the oxygen concentration, maintain a small form factor, and require infrequent maintenance or repairs. The designed sensor would need to withstand the vibration loads and environmental requirements of a typical fighter aircraft flight profile, and meet the appropriate electrical criteria of a fuel tank environment. The oxygen sensor should be usable on any aircraft that is inerting fuel cells.

 

PHASE I: Identify the mechanism for the oxygen sensor that can withstand jet fuel and vapor. Develop an experimental bench top design to show the basic functionality and compatibility with the environment. Verify that the oxygen concentration readings are accurate in a lab setting. Develop a plan to address any technical hurdles with the design. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

 

PHASE II: Produce an on-aircraft prototype of the oxygen sensor. Verify that size, power, and interface requirements are met. Perform appropriate environmental testing. Validate and demonstrate the sensor in a testing environment representative of a fuel tank.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Produce a final design that is ready for flight test. Provide documentation regarding sensor accuracy, operational limits, and failure analysis. Provide appropriate qualification documentation, including (a) environmental testing, (b) electrical testing/analysis, and (c) explosive atmosphere qualification.

Commercial aircraft fuel tanks could use oxygen sensor technology to ensure the tanks are inert. Additional applications may exist for storing commercial flammable liquids.

 

REFERENCES:

Cavage, W. (2009). Measuring oxygen concentration in a fuel tank ullage. U.S. Air Force T&E Days 2009. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2009-1743
Goswami, K., Sampathkumaran, U., Alam, M., Tseng, D., Majumdar, A. K., & Kazemi, A. A. (2006). Ormosil coating-based oxygen sensor for Aircraft Ullage. SPIE Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.684769

 

KEYWORDS: Oxygen sensor; On-Board Inert Gas Generator System; OBIGGS; fuel tank; inert; oxygen; sensor