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NYIT, X-wave Innovations Team Up to Develop RFID Technology for NASA

Fang Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the New York Institute of Technology, is partnering with the firm to develop an embedded sensor system capable of measuring temperature, pressure and strain levels on various rocket propulsion engine components.
By Rich Handley
Aug 08, 2017

Fang Li, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), is partnering with X-wave Innovations Inc. (XII), a research and development firm specializing in the defense, homeland security, transportation and energy fields, to develop an embedded sensor system for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The solution is capable of measuring the levels of temperature, pressure and strain on various rocket propulsion engine components.

This technology is being developed as part of a project funded by a $125,000 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant jointly awarded to Professor Li and XII. During this 12-month project, Li and XII will prototype an embedded sensor system and demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed technique for passive, wireless, multi-parameter high-temperature measurements.

NASA requires embedded sensor systems with wireless data-communication capabilities for such applications as ground and flight testing, as well as in-service monitoring. This embedded sensor system, the company reports, will provide a flexible instrumentation solution to monitor remote or inaccessible measurement locations for NASA's rocket propulsion test facilities.

The project is a hybrid product of passive surface acoustic wave radio frequency identification (SAW-RFID) technology and high-temperature piezoelectric materials and devices. Li joined the NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences in 2012, and has expertise in such technologies, while XII has a background in SAW-RFID technology and systems integration.

Assessing the health of propulsion engine components in harsh, high-temperature environments can be challenging for conventional sensors, Li reports. This sensor system, which she is developing with her students, consists of sensor tags and an RF interrogation system. The sensor tags are embedded in measured components, powered by an RF signal that requires no power supply or external circuits.

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