This project seeks to construct a thermally-isolated, SiC thin-film, ionization sensor to measure the propagation speed of flames in combustion chambers. Silicon carbide has been chosen as the sensor material because it is a ceramic semiconductor with low surface energy and excellent mechanical and electrical properties at high temperatures. A prototype MEMS planar sensor array has been designed and fabricated for parametric testing of sensor material and geometry. It is currently undergoing testing using a controlled flame. Future work will incorporate parametric optimization and thermal isolation of the sensor surface to minimize quenching. The creation of a flame ionization sensor capable of withstanding combustion environments will allow for measurement of flame speed, location and propagation around walls of a combustion chamber. Possible future applications include the real-time monitoring of flame speed in individual internal combustion engine cylinders or the monitoring of flame stability in turbine applications.
Project end date: 01/28/14