Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Microwave Interrogation
Oak Ridge has proposed a microwave-based method for detecting drivetrain component wear (in-service) by interrogating oil morphology. The optimal system would recognize ferrous and non-ferrous particles, and indicate size and distribution. Tasks for the system’s development would include identifying cavity design for maximum sensitivity; prioritizing potential target particles; identifying useful transmission frequency range; developing conditioning and discrimination circuitry; performing tests and calibrations; evaluating data; and reporting results.
Microwave signals, produced by a 12- to 24-volt DC battery, travel through an optimally-geometric enclosure and interact with particles in the oil stream that pass through the cavity. A receiver, positioned at the opposite end of the cavity, can detect changes in the microwave signals. Carbon, metal, and organic metal particles can also be detected at a level of 10 parts per million via the proper collection, processing, and discrimination of the altered signal. However, this method is limited to the size and distribution of the particles, and may be incapable of discriminating between different materials.
Oak Ridge’s microwave interrogation concept has completed a feasibility study. If fully developed, the concept could provide accurate, on-site analyses of oil morphology, and may increase the accuracy of predictive maintenance techniques for determining the condition of equipment. Quicker, more accurate information would help to extend equipment durability, improve productivity, and reduce maintenance costs.
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