Fiber-Optic Determination of N₂, O₂, and Fuel Vapor in the Ullage of Liquid-Fuel Tanks
- Magazine Article
A fiber-optic sensor system has been developed that can remotely measure the concentration of molecular oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), hydrocarbon vapor, and other gases (CO2, CO, H2O, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.) in the ullage of a liquid-fuel tank. The system provides an accurate and quantitative identification of the above gases with an accuracy of better than 1 percent by volume (for O2 or N2) in real-time (5 seconds). In an effort to prevent air-craft fuel tank fires or explosions similar to the tragic TWA Flight 800 explosion in 1996, OBIGGS are currently being developed for large commercial aircraft to prevent dangerous conditions from forming inside fuel tanks by providing an “inerting” gas blanket that is low in oxygen, thus preventing the ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the ullage.