NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a SansEC Sensor technology for use with aerospace fuel delivery systems. The SansEC technology is a patented and proven platform for multiple applications, including fluid level measurement. The platform utilizes a flat coil geometry antenna operated at its resonant frequency to measure dielectric properties or property changes of materials near the coil. The technology is well suited for situations where wireless, powerless, or non-contact measurements are needed with high sensitivity and accuracy. NASA Langley Research Center is seeking industrial partners/licensees to commercialize this technology. The research team at NASA Langley is available to assist with further development.
The FAA and aircraft industry recognize the need to reduce fuel tank explosion risk by eliminating ignition sources and changing fuel tank design and maintenance. This technology can be utilized to wirelessly sense the level of fuel in aircraft, thus mitigating risk of inadvertent electrical failures and sparks. No wires enter the fuel tank, and the radio frequency transponder typically requires 10 milliwatts of power or less. The technology can be used for dielectric tanks simply by applying the sensors to the tank surface (see figure). Through certain techniques, the technology can be applied on metal tanks with no wires entering the tank from the outside.
Currently, there are more than 20,910 jet aircraft in service. This presents a large market opportunity for retrofitting this technology onto existing airplane fuel tanks. Rapidly evolving aviation services are expected to spur a worldwide requirement for 36,770 new jet aircraft by 2033. This presents a growing market for new installations.
This technology can also be used for above- or below-ground fuel storage tanks, and cryogenic fluid tanks.