NASA seeks to improve fuel lines using stainless steel SensePipe
November 27, 2021
Aided by US-based private companies, NASA has developed the SensePipe; a stainless steel, thick-walled pipe section containing two embedded fiber optic sensors capable of constantly monitoring local pressure, stress, strain, temperature and heat flux changes.
NASA expects to improve the way it monitors systems, particularly with their cryogenic fuel lines. The sensor is designed to fit into NASA’s existing gas lines at rocket engine test stands. It will improve fuel-line monitoring for enhanced efficiency and safety of rocket engine testing and launches.
Second-generation (GenII) SensePipes were recently constructed out of stainless steel 304 (SS304) and designed to survive extreme cryogenic temperatures (-253°C) and pressures up to 41.4 MPa (6,000 psi). The GenII SensePipe is designed to measure pressure and temperature with 0.25 percent accuracy. Testing and demonstrations are expected to begin in the coming months.