The technology that has been developed is able to be applied on the instrumentation of liquid tanks with integrated sensors, during the manufacturing process. In the case of new materials as with carbon fiber reinforced panels, it’s possible to integrate the
sensors in the manufacturing process either by autoclave or vacuum infusion, as stated on the project. With the values obtained by the sensors, is possible to calculate the liquid level inside the tank, even when subject to roll and pitch movements. The data comes from the sensors, and then it is integrated in a 3D model able to calculate geometrically in real time the volume and mass occupied inside the tank. Some advanced signal processing techniques are used Kalman filters, optimization algorithms) to give extra robustness.
Nowadays systems tend to be more efficient. In the transportation market, a decrease in the system mass, is a gain in fuel consumption. This is more relevant in the aeronautics where a reduction of weight is synonym of reduction of fuel consumption or a increase of pay-load. In ACARE, with the reference document VISION 2020, ambitious objectives were defined in terms of technology developments.
Sense technology is focused in three vectors: design of innovative level sensors; sensor integration in the composite laminate; 3D model to calculate the fuel level and quantity when subject to Roll and Pitch.
It was developed a physical demonstrator with all features implemented. It is possible to simulate:
- Automatic Roll and Pitch movements of the fuel tank
- Fill and empty the fuel tank automatically
- Simulate leakage in the tank and detect that situation
- Several alarms are generated as: low temperature, wrong fuel, minimum level reached, leakage detection are automatically generated.
- Structural Health Monitoring using mechanical impedance technology
The innovative features achieved under the Sense project are related with:
- Patentable technology
- Thin film flexible level sensors
- Integration on composite laminate
- 3D model to calculate liquid level in different object orientation
- Reduced mass and thickness, of the instrumentation
- Maintenance free.
- Modular and scalable.
- Energy efficiency with low power electronics
Critical Materials SA, has been developing the Sense technology with other technological partners (CENTI and CEiiA) during the last years, with the support of QREN - Portuguese National Strategic Reference Framework. This framework allowed Critical Materials to gain competences in the development of multidisciplinary projects and know-how in distributed sensing and on the development of industrialized, and marketable solutions and technologies.