IC2 was recently awarded a NASA Phase 1 SBIR, titled “On-Board Low-Profile Skin Friction Sensor,” to enhance DirectShear wall shear stress sensors for use in flight-test environments. New sensor geometries, digitized electronics in the sensor head, and the addition of temperature and acceleration / vibration compensation capabilities that will be developed during this contract are key enablers for the use of DirectShear sensors during flight tests.
The DirectShear sensing system, commercially launched in 2017, is the industry leading direct measurement solution for quantifying mean and fluctuating wall shear stress; typically, in a wind-tunnel environment. Advancements made during the course of this NASA SBIR will not only facilitate in-flight wall shear stress measurements on aircraft, but will also enable application in the automotive, wind energy, and rotorcraft sectors.
From the project abstract, “IC2 proposes to develop an ultra-low-profile, ultra-smooth-surface, robust, real-time wall shear stress sensing system using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology that can provide quantitative skin friction measurements during flight tests. The goal of this research is to advance IC2’s current capacitive wall shear stress sensor technology … and allow them to be used in harsh, subsonic flight-test environments. Such a transducer would be the first of its kind and will provide information that characterizes complex flow fields, leading to a better understanding of the fluidic phenomena in real-world applications as well as providing a way of validating computational fluid dynamics simulations.”