Economical Deployment of a Low Maintenance Asynchronous Health Monitoring System via Smart Energy Harvesting Instrumentation


Rocket engines and related hardware undergo extensive propulsion testing before being accepted into service. Ground propulsion testing can incur unexpected schedule delays and cost overruns due to untimely maintenance, repair, or replacement of unique valves. Efforts for monitoring the operational condition of the test facility valves drove the development of a novel Valve Health Monitoring System (VHMS).

The VHMS was developed with the inclusion of data-acquisition, wireless data-communication, and data-processing subsystems for tracking both real-time and historical time-stamped data. The Class I Division II system is appropriate for all kinds of structural and infrastructure monitoring. The system can be utilized in commercial applications that require long term monitoring for different types of events associated with such quantities as strain, temperature, position, milliamps, voltage, and magnetic fields. The system functions as a stand alone facility monitoring unit or as a networked component within a health-management system.

The technology was designed for economically detecting degraded performance and deterioration in the mechanical integrity of high-geared ball valves and linearly actuated valves that operate within the harsh propulsion environment. Beyond valve monitoring, the technology has been effective at performing real time safe-to-proceed verifications for degraded structural integrity of hydrogen barge dock facilities. This allowed repairs to be safely performed while avoiding facility down-time. Like no other technology, the system’s highly power conservative smart instrumentation remains within a dormant state drawing absolutely no power between data collection cycles. The combination of the technology’s power conservation along with energy harvesting and asynchronous collection capabilities makes it a powerful health monitoring tool with virtually no maintenance required for recharging or replacing power storage elements.


Scott Jensen
AST Electronics Engineer
Stennis Space Center

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