Non-invasive Sensing for Aerospace Fuel Systems



Published Jul 2, 2018
Andy Mills Simon Blakey Spiridon Souris Visakan Kadirkamanathan


An aerospace fuel system contains valves required to operate in inhospitable environments where conventional position sensing cannot achieve the required reliability.  This work demonstrates the use of non-invasive, high temperature sensors to monitor valve position.

Novel fuel systems, as required for lean burn combustion, can carry a high risk failure mode.  The rapid detection of these failure modes, such as valve sticking or impending sticking would reduce this risk. However, sensing valve state is challenging due to hot environmental temperatures, which result in a low reliability for conventional position sensing.  Conventional sensing also requires moving parts that can be prone to induce leaks and other failure modes to the valve. 

Acoustic emission (AE) sensing technology is evaluated to provide a non-invasive, remote and high temperature tolerant solution.  The fluidic turbulence created by flow through a narrow valve opening can be sensed to determine the valve state.  A pilot scale aviation fuel thermal stability rig has been utilised to place passive AE sensors to verify the detection capability of valve state.  Data collected from experiments exhibited an acoustic response allowed open and closed states to be distinguished. The sensitivity to different sensor locations and an analysis of the ability to characterise opening time response as well as open / closed state is performed - this is expected to provide diagnostics of incipient fault conditions.

How to Cite

Mills, A., Blakey, S., Souris, S., & Kadirkamanathan, V. (2018). Non-invasive Sensing for Aerospace Fuel Systems. PHM Society European Conference, 4(1).
Abstract 313 | PDF Downloads 395



fuel system, acoustic emission, valve diagnosis, acoustic sensing

Technical Papers