Fabrisonic partners with Luna Innovations for NASA project

December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

Fabrisonic partners with Luna Innovation for NASA project
Fabrisonic partners with Luna Innovations to gather data in cryogenic fuel pipes for rocket test stands at NASA Stennis Space Center (Courtesy Fabrisonic LLC)

Fabrisonic LLC, a manufacturer of Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) solutions, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, USA, has partnered with Luna Innovations, Roanoke, Virginia, USA, a manufacturer of medical, telecommunications, energy and defence technologies, to gather data in cryogenic fuel pipes for rocket test stands at NASA Stennis Space Center for a NASA contract.   

NASA’s goal is to collect data on pressure and temperature gradients inside of its fuel piping closer to the test article to better understand how a particular engine is behaving. Historically, NASA has mounted sensors to the outside of pipes using elbows and ports, which communicates some data. However, these do not give the same fidelity as sensors located adjacent to the fuel stream and can disrupt the fuel stream. Similarly, NASA has mounted sensors directly into the flow path using pass-throughs in the existing pipe. These ports and pass-throughs can, however, influence the fuel flow, adding uncertainty to the measurements.

According to Fabrisonic, the team assigned to this project additively manufactured sensors directly into the wall of the pipe. This allows a suite of sensors to be embedded in essentially the same space, giving a clearer picture of thermal and pressure gradients in the piping since no ports are required. All of the sensors used were fibre optic based sensors, provided by Luna Innovations. The team selected fibre optic sensors as they are small and thus don’t create a large impact on the structure of the pipe. The fibre-based sensors can also collect data over the entire length of the fibre allowing for a continuous length of sensing instead of a fixed point.

The company states that, as with many projects, Fabrisonic chose to only additively manufacture a portion of the pipe as AM is expensive and the team worked to minimise the amount of AM. The team started with an existing pipe and a flat section was milled into the outer diameter (OD) of the pipe creating a landing strip for embedding. A small groove was cut to positively locate each fibre and once the fibres were inserted by hand, Fabrisonic additively manufactured additional material over the landing strip to build the OD back up to specification. After the AM process, excess material was removed using standard CNC milling.

The team has reportedly tested the pipe at various pressures and temperatures to calibrate the sensor. This included boiling the pipe in water and filling it with liquid nitrogen to emulate cryogenic fuel. The pipe continued to provide solid data throughout all of the extreme conditions. The next phase of the project will include the Additive Manufacturing of a larger pipe section for use at NASA Stennis Space Center.


December 10, 2019

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Kennametal: The story of the successful commercialisation of AM hardmetal and steel solutions
  • General Atomics Aeronautical on metal Additive Manufacturing’s place at the centre of the digital manufacturing revolution
  • Adrian Keppler on Additive Manufacturing: An insider’s assessment from the outside
  • Metal AM’s journey to industrialisation: Are we there yet? And what does the destination even look like?
  • A stronger future, layer by layer: How next-generation software will drive adoption of metal AM
  • Volkmann: Making the case for the complete automation of powder handling in AM
  • Metal AM on an industrial scale: GKN Additive draws on decades of sintering expertise to commercialise Binder Jetting
  • International Conference on Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing: Highlights from EBAM 2023

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap