Accurate Flow-Through Conductivity Sensor for Autonomous Systems
Navy STTR 2018.A - Topic N18A-T022
ONR - Mr. Steve Sullivan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Opens: January 8, 2018 - Closes: February 7, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)
AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors
PROGRAM: Program Office for Unmanned Maritime Systems Office (PMS 406); PMW-120
for the LBS-AUV(S) POR
Leverage recent advances in nanotechnology and computational fluid dynamics as
well as micro-fluidics, three-dimensional printing and specialized high-slip,
fouling-resisting coatings to create major power, weight, and space savings for
a conductivity sensor.
Autonomous underwater vehicles and Lagrangian floats used by the Navy must
carry conductivity, temperature and pressure for depth (CTD) sensors to support
their missions in providing environmental data on the thermohaline structure of
the ocean. The data support forecast systems and tactical tools. The present
generation of flow-through sensors is bulky and power-intensive and prone to
fouling by marine organisms, thus compromising performance. The commercial
generation of flow-through (versus pumped) sensors have a known tendency to
have stability issues and thus compromise accuracy, which limits the lifetime
and persistence of the systems for the Navy’s intended use. Significant
savings in cost for medium volume flow CTDs could be realized by injection
molding, 3-D printing or other high-volume, rapid production techniques.
Engineered polymers that reduce weight without compromising ruggedness could
bring major benefits. Reducing the Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) of
commercially available devices while maintaining or increasing the stability
and accuracy of the conductivity and pressure sensor will enable a power savings
by a factor of five to seven times without reducing useful lifetime. The
commercial market could benefit by partnership with universities to take
advantage of computational fluid dynamics modeling, micro-fluidics, and
specialty surface coatings to achieve this goal.
I: Provide a trade-off study of the parameters and cost for an initial
prototype design. Develop a Phase II plan to create a prototype.
II: Based upon the results of the Phase I design, develop and deliver a
prototype sensor. Support extensive (up to six months) tank testing in a range
of conditions with an initial at-sea test.
III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Ruggedize and mature the sensor for installation,
integration, and at-sea testing, and implement cost reduction measures to
provide a minimal-cost product for Navy acquisition. Consider methods to
reduce the power of the device.
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Conductivity Sensor; Accuracy; Flow-through; Low Power