Joint Leak Detection and Localization Based on Fast Bayesian Inference from Network of Ultrasonic Sensor Arrays in Microgravity Environment (Wireless Leak Detection) - 01.18.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
On a spacecraft, leaking air, fluids or gases can cause stability problems and jeopardize crew member safety. Air leaks can cause ultrasonic noise that humans cannot hear, but detecting the sound is a useful way to monitor for leaks and pinpoint their location. The Joint Leak Detection and Localization Based on Fast Bayesian Inference from Network of Ultrasonic Sensor Arrays in Microgravity Environment (Wireless Leak Detection) compares signals received at various ultrasonic sensors to reveal the location of air leaks, which can then be repaired.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Ali Abedi, Ph. D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Wireless Leak Detection

Principal Investigator(s)
Ali Abedi, Ph. D., University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Vincent Caccese, Ph.D., University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States
Lonnie Labonte, University of Maine , Orono, ME, United States
Casey Clark, University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States
Joel Castro, University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States
Kenneth Bundy, M.S., University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States

Developer(s)
Wireless Sensor Network Laboratory, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, Orono, ME, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2016 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
49/50,51/52

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Joint Leak Detection and Localization Based on Fast Bayesian Inference from Network of Ultrasonic Sensor Arrays in Microgravity Environment (Wireless Leak Detection) demonstrates a novel leak detection system capable of locating pressure leaks on the International Space Station (ISS)structure.
  • The leak detector is made of an array of sensors that listens for ultrasonic acoustics emitting from a leak location.
  • Using onboard processing and an original leak detection algorithm, the leak detector calculates the exact location of the leak.
  • The system improves safety of the crew by decreasing response time to find and fix a structural leak.

Description
The Joint Leak Detection and Localization Based on Fast Bayesian Inference from Network of Ultrasonic Sensor Arrays in Microgravity Environment (Wireless Leak Detection) research involves the development of a stand-alone Wireless Leak Detection system. Pressurized leaks have been shown to emit ultrasonic waves around 40 kHz. The system uses arrays of micro-electromechanical sensors (MEMS) to listen for these ultrasonic acoustic waves. Acoustic waves are passed through a series of signal conditioning circuits and sampled by onboard analog to digital converters (ADCs). Ultrasonic sensors are aligned such that a phase delay and angle of arrival can be determined. Using the angle of arrival, onboard processing, and a novel tree-search algorithm, location of the leak is determined. The system is enclosed in a custom 3 dimensional printed enclosure, and powered by a Lithium Polymer battery. Sensor readings and leak location are stored on an SD card for post-processing.

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Applications

Space Applications
A spacecraft can spring a leak from a variety of causes, from micrometeoroids and orbital debris to material being degraded by radiation and extreme temperature changes. Leaks can compromise spacecraft safety and therefore jeopardize crew member safety, so continuous monitoring for leaks is vital. This investigation demonstrates a novel detection system that can locate pressure leaks on the International Space Station (ISS), reducing the time to find and fix a structural leak.

Earth Applications
Any pressurized environment can become hazardous in the case of a leak, including submarines, airplanes, pipelines and fuel tanks. The technology developed for this investigation can be used to monitor for leaks in pressurized systems on Earth, safeguarding the environment and protecting human lives.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
Once onboard the ISS, crew members install each of the three identical sensor boxes at predetermined locations and allow them to collect data for two intervals of about 30 hours, for a total of 60 hours each. The detector box is a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution not requiring a crew member to manually scan various locations for potential leaks. The system is designed to be automated. Hence, there is no interaction with the device during on-board operations. After each device collects data, the information is downloaded and sent to the researchers for analysis and processing. Once the hardware returns to Earth on a re-entry vehicle sometime next year, the team inspects how well the devices survived the launch, deployment and return with the intention of proposing a new design for the next generation.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery