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Embedded micromachined fiber-optic Fabry-Perot pressure sensors in aerodynamics applications

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9 Author(s)
M. J. Gander ; Phys. Dept., Heriot-Watt Univ., Edinburgh, UK ; W. N. MacPherson ; J. S. Barton ; R. L. Reuben
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Small size, high bandwidth pressure sensors are required for instrumentation of probes and test models in aerodynamic studies of complex unsteady flows. Optical-fiber pressure sensors promise potential advantages of small size and low cost in comparison with their electrical counterparts. We describe miniature Fabry-Perot cavity pressure sensors constructed by micromachining techniques in a turbine test application. The sensor bodies are 500 μm squared, 300 μm deep with a ∼2 μm-thick copper diaphragm electroplated on one face. The sensor cavity is formed between the diaphragm and the cleaved end of a single mode fiber sealed to the sensor by epoxy. Each sensor is addressed interferometrically in reflection by three wavelengths simultaneously, giving an unambiguous phase determination; a pressure sensitivity of 1.6 radbar-1 was measured, with a typical range of vacuum to 600 kPa. Five sensors were embedded in the trailing edge of a nozzle guide vane installed upstream of a rotor in a full-scale turbine stage transient test facility. Pressure signals in the trailing edge flow show marked structure at the 8 kHz blade passing frequency. To our knowledge, this is the first report of sensors located at the trailing edge of a normal-sized turbine blade.

Published in:

IEEE Sensors Journal  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 1 )