Leveraging our experience with low power embedded corrosion monitoring systems, Luna has begun work in the field of mechanical system health monitoring. Using sensors that monitor parameters such as vibration, temperature, pressure, and fluid viscosity can help equipment maintainers find early failures or transition to condition-based maintenance from a potentially more costly time-based maintenance schedule.
Wireless embedded sensors offer the ability to measure process related and environmental parameters on high value and mission critical assets used by the military and industry. This information can be used to monitor the health of equipment and provide guidance for condition-based maintenance activities. Luna is developing low-power sensor nodes that provide long-term monitoring capabilities, while identifying failure modes that develop within hydraulic actuators. This technology focuses on the design, fabrication and testing of embedded hardware, as well as the development of computationally efficient algorithms to 1) identify the presence of damage, 2) assess damage severity, and 3) generate life prediction models that are used to inform maintenance practices.
Lubrication System Monitoring
Bearings and gears within high performance aircraft and rotorcraft powertrains are subjected to significant loads that can result in premature failure of these components. Small amounts of wear debris may indicate initiation of bearing and gear failure processes. Current failure detection methods suffer from poor debris capture efficiency (i.e. magnetic chip collectors) and may require significant mechanical modifications for retrofit (i.e. particle counters).
To address the need for improved sensing techniques to detect initial stages of engine component damage, Luna is developing a debris detection system utilizing the propulsion system’s main lubricant filter as the primary sensing element. This strategy saves size and weight by employing existing fluid connections and components, and captures virtually all circulated bearing debris. The patent pending advanced oil filter monitoring system detects small levels of critical system debris and is designed for straightforward retrofit into existing aircraft and rotorcraft propulsion systems.