Miniature high temperature pressure probe

A common challenge facing the turbomachinery industry is the ability to measure time varying pressures in high-temperature environments. There is an unmet need for a compact probe that can withstand extreme and varying conditions whilst reliably measuring unsteady pressures.

Academics at the Oxford University’s Thermo-Fluids laboratory have developed a novel method of constructing a high frequency ultra-miniature total pressure probe that can be used in high-temperature environments such as gas turbines or engine exhaust systems. The probe uses a particular construction which makes it robust and usable in turbomachinery and allows it to survive temperatures around 500°C – a major improvement on current methods without cooling.

The pressure to develop

A major challenge facing the turbomachinery industry is the ability to measure key parameters in extreme conditions or with complex flows. As the industry advances and margins for error get smaller, the need for a robust and compact solution is increasing, along with a need to improve the quality and reliability of these solutions.

Probing for solutions

The Oxford Thermo-Fluids Laboratory has developed a novel method of constructing a pressure probe that can be used in high-temperature environments such as gas turbines or engine exhaust systems. Current probes are limited in terms of how small they can be and have proven unreliable when operated in extreme conditions, or when vibrations in unsteady flows are present, which cause large uncertainties in temperature and/or pressure.

Raising the temperature of innovation

We believe that the Oxford method offers the following advantages:

  • The probe can be manufactured easily and affordably, even where the diameter of the probe is incredibly small;
  • The orientation of the sensor improves the quality of measurements made by the probe for measuring stagnation pressure;
  • The probe can withstand temperatures up to 500°C, allowing the probe to measure flow conditions in unsteady flow situations such as turbomachinery, where currently only steady measurements are made due to temperature and wiring limitations;
  • The probe can also measure the time mean temperature using its pressure sensor element, saving space and generating as much data as possible from a single probe.

The probe construction has further applications for general measurements of unsteady pressure in high-temperature environments, for example, aero-engines and industrial gas turbines, steam turbines and turbochargers. The probe itself can be used as a robust core probe for encapsulation in a cooled probe arrangement.

This technology is subject to a patent application and is available to license. Oxford University Innovation would like to speak to parties interested in developing this technology.

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