Leak detection in spacecraft using structure-borne noise with distributed sensors

Date
2005-04-25
Authors
Holland, Stephen
Holland, Stephen
Roberts, Ronald
Chimenti, Dale
Strei, Michael
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Research Projects
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Aerospace Engineering
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Abstract

We have developed and tested in the laboratory a method for in-orbit detection and location of air leaks in manned spacecraft that uses only a small number of sensors distributed arbitrarily on the inner surface of the spacecraft skin. Then, structure-borne ultrasound in the range of 300–600 kHz is monitored from each of the sensors. When cross correlations between measured sensor waveforms indicate the presence of a leak, these correlations are compared with a large dynamically generated database of simulated correlations to locate the leak on the pressure vessel. A series of experimental tests were performed and at worst the method identified some false locations, but the true location of the leak always appeared.

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<p>This article appeared in <em>Applied Physics Letters </em>86, no. 17 (2005): 174105, doi:<a target="_blank">10.1063/1.1906324</a>.</p>
Keywords
leak detectors, engineering instruments, vacuum technology, space vehicles, pairing correlations, wave functions, nondestructive testing, nondestructive evaluation
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