Description: Accurate assessments of reliability and condition based maintenance can only be implemented where a good understanding of ammunition stockpile condition exists. Use of miniaturized intelligent sensors provides an inexpensive means of nondestructively gaining insight into stockpile condition while keeping costs low. In the past, evaluation of ammunition lifetimes has utilized humidity, temperature, pressure, shock, and corrosion. New technologies provide the possibility of obtaining these environmental parameters, as well as a number of other indicators of propellant degradation, including NOx by utilizing a microsensor with capability for remote wireless monitoring. Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) like microcantilevers promise to revolutionize the field of sensor design. In the automobile industry, micromachined acceleration sensors are now used for triggering airbags and pressure sensors adjust the air-fuel intake ratio in the engine. By applying coatings to the sensor`s surface the behavior of the microdevice can be measurably altered to respond to chemical species as demonstrated by ORNL using microcantilevers to detect mercury vapor and humidity. Ultimately, single-chip detectors with electronics and telemetry could be developed with conceivably hundreds of individual microsensors on each chip to simultaneously monitor identify, and quantify many important chemical species for ammunition as well as measure environmental parameters.
Date: October 30, 1997
Creator: Mee, D.K.; Thundat, T.G. & Oden, P.I.
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department