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Real time Optoelectronic Sensors for Electro-Actuator Hydraulic Fluid Contamination Monitoring

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FluidER (Real time Optoelectronic Sensors for Electro-Actuator Hydraulic Fluid Contamination Monitoring)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-09-30

The overall objective of FluidER project is to deliver an integrated solution for in-line sensing and diagnosis of aviation hydraulic fluids and the associated hydraulic actuators.
FluidER will combine the benefits brought by commercial fluid parameter sensors with proprietary fluid contamination sensors, merging the sensor readings in a health condition algorithm, which will be developed, trained and assessed in a comprehensive testing scenario.
This testing environment will be complemented with relevant accredited laboratory tests, towards the FluidER system validation in terms of its reliability and compatibility for aircraft environments, accuracy for contaminant monitoring and performance for hydraulic fluid condition and whole hydraulic actuator health condition estimation.

The overall objective of the project is translated into three objectives to be adchived during the work in the project:

Objective 1: In-Line Fluid Parameter and Contaminant Sensing
The first objective is focused on setting up the different sensor technologies for their use in the EHA Hydraulic Fluid applications, including the commercial fluid parameter sensors and the proprietary contamination sensors. Additionally, objective 1 also aims to deliver the right sensor installation approach, considering the specific requirements of the specimen EHA provided by the Topic Manager.

Objective 2:Design of Experiment and associated Test Environment Setting and Running
FluidER project relied on an important set of experimental and testing activities, which were carried out through a three-axis scenario. The equipment and resources available at consortium members’ facilities will be used to set the expected Test Environments, covering from the controlled laboratory environment to the Aircraft representative environment: (i)hydraulic test beds, (ii)EHA test beds and (iii)parallel Analytical Laboratory tests complementing and supporting the previous tests.

Objective 3:Measurement Correlation and Health Condition Algorithms:
To develop, implement and integrate Health Monitoring algorithms for the early detection and/or prediction of unacceptable levels of contamination of the fluid, before affecting the EHA performance in a critical way, based on the readings from the FluidER in line fluid sensors.

This project will enhance safety in aeronautical sector, and Will be a step forward in the implantation of condition monitoring strategy in the aeronautical sector. This strategy will prevent the use of unneeded hydraulic fluid changes. This will make aeronautical transport more cost efficient and more environmentally friendly.
The project relies in experimental tests. In a first approximation a set of experiments was done, performing tests in a hydraulic test bench designed and built for this project. A design of experiments was done, in concordance with the needs of the topic manager. A set of sensors ready to work with phosphate esters and the selected working conditions was selected. A methodology was developed to artificially degrade the fluid samples needed to fulfil the DoE.
The artificially degraded samples, and other samples degraded in real conditions that the topic manager provided were analysed in laboratory. This samples were set to run in the designed hydraulic test bench. A first Alfa algorithm was developed using these results.
On the other hand, tests in use conditions have been designed and are being set into work. These tests will simulate relevant working conditions of actuators and will pair the measurement of the sensor system with the condition of the actuator.
The project is still in work in progress stage, and relevant results will come towards the end of it. But now we can see that the methodology for the degradation of the fluids and the result of the first DoE are steps over the state of the art relevant to monitoring the health stage of phosphate ester based fluids. More relevant results are to come.
Researcher working on the phosphate ester fluid test bench.