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Virginia Tech Photonics Center to develop sensors to keep power systems clean, safe
Date:8/24/2011

fossil energy power plants.

The DOE is asking Virginia Tech to develop a first-of-a-kind technology for remote fiber optic generation and the detection of acoustic waves for structural health monitoring. The envisioned technology would require no electric power supply at the monitoring site and at the detected acoustic signature, as well as the additional returned optical signal. It would allow the recording of information about multiple material conditions including temperature, strain, corrosion, and cracking.

This project will last 36 months, and DOE funding will total $1,195,770.

In the second DOE project, Wang and his colleagues will develop a unique sensing platform to monitor the varying space and time properties of a gasifier's refractory wall.

In a gasifier, a carbon-based material such as coal or petroleum can be converted at a high temperature into a gas, including hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or a synthetic gas. The temperatures may exceed 1000C. The term refractory refers to the materials that are used to line the walls of the gasifiers, protecting the shell of the gasification chamber from the very intense gasification process.

Wang's sensors will be used to identify problem areas such as localized hot spots in the liner of the gasifier.

Wang is working with Eastman Chemical Co., to develop a baseline requirement matrix for refractory health monitoring to guide the design and fabrication of the new sensor. Together, they will actually build a laboratory-scale double-layer refractory furnace to demonstrate the distribution of high temperatures between the two layers and prove the sensor's capability to accurately detect hot spots, Wang said.

Finally, the Electric Power Research Institute is funding a new four-year study, asking the photonics center to investigate the validity of two approaches to monitoring and detecting hydrogen and acetylene. The use of fiber optic sensors for on-lin
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Contact: Lynn Nystrom
tansy@vt.edu
540-231-4371
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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Virginia Tech Photonics Center to develop sensors to keep power systems clean, safe
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