Title page for ETD etd-01042001-125754

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Edwards, Alex T.
Author's Email Address aledward@vt.edu
URN etd-01042001-125754
Title Comparison of Strain Gage and Fiber Optic Sensors On A Sting Balance In A Supersonic Wind Tunnel
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Schetz, Joseph A. Committee Chair
Kapania, Rakesh K. Committee Member
Pulliam, Wade J. Committee Member
  • aerodynamic forces and moments
  • strain gage sensors
  • sting balance
  • supersonic
  • fiber optic sensors
  • wind tunnel testing
Date of Defense 2000-12-05
Availability unrestricted
Force and moment balances have proved to be essential in the measurement and calculation of aerodynamic properties during wind tunnel testing. With the recent advancements of technology, new fiber optic sensors have been designed to replace the conventional foil strain gage sensors commonly found on balances, thereby offering several distinct advantages. The use of fiber optic sensors on a balance brings with it some potential advantages over conventional strain gage balances including increased resolution and accuracy, insensitivity to electromagnetic interference, and the capability of use at high temperatures. By using the fiber optic sensors, some of the limitations of the conventional balance can be overcome, leading to a better overall balance design.

This thesis considers an initial trial application of new fiber optic sensors on a conventional, six-component sting balance while retaining the original foil strain gage sensors for comparison. Tests were conducted with a blunt, 10º half-angle cone model in the Virginia Tech 9x9 inch Supersonic Wind Tunnel at Mach 2.4 with a total pressure of 48 psia and ambient total temperature of 25.3ºC. Results showed a close comparison between the foil strain gages and the fiber optic sensor measurements, which were set up to measure the normal force and pitching moment on the blunt cone model. A Finite Element Model (FEM) of the sting balance was produced in order to determine the best locations for the fiber optic sensors on the sting balance. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was also used in order to predict and compare the results acquired from all of the sensors.

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