A Bell Helicopter operating continuously without batteries recently used MicroStrain’s ESG-LINKTM Energy Harvesting Wireless Strain nodes to monitor the strains on rotating components.
The nodes recorded operational loads, computed metal fatigue, and estimated remaining component life. ESG-LINKs measure the strains applied to pitch links that control the pitch of the rotor blades. Pitch link loads vary depending upon flight regimes and are a good indicator of wear-and-tear.
ESG-LINKs operate indefinitely without batteries by converting cyclic strains into dc using piezoelectric material. They use an energy harvesting power conversion and storage electronics unit, signal conditioner, low-power system microprocessor, precision timekeeper,
non-volatile memory for on-board data logging, and a frequency agile IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver. Users can program sample rate and duration, sensor offset and gain, and on-board shunt calibration wirelessly.
Reducing power consumption is critical to support continuous operation. ESG-LINK adapts its operating mode depending upon the available energy. It logs data to memory and checks to see if enough energy has been stored to transmit data over the RF link. If energy is low, data are logged to memory and transmitted when sufficient energy is available.
: Design World :
Filed Under: Semiconductor, Energy management + harvesting