Quick-disconnect fittings on hoses and bellows can be equipped with sensors to detect leaks and misalignments that cause leaks. Experiments have shown that four types of sensors are effective for this purpose: force sensors, strain gauges, pressure transducers, and microphones. Of these, force sensors appear to be best for indicating misalignments. Microphones pick up the whistling sounds of gas leaks. Pressure transducers in purge cavities can indicate (a) increases in pressure that signify leaks in supply lines and (b) decreases in pressure that signify leaks in vent lines. The instrumented quick-disconnect fittings were conceived for use on the umbilical hoses used to supply gases and cryogenic liquids to spacecraft during preparation for launch. The concept also has potential for enhancing safety and helping to enable automation of fueling system for cars, trucks, buses, trains, and airplanes.
This work was done by Ronald L. Remus and Perry Hartford of Merritt Systems, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center.
Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to
the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
Refer to KSC-11893.