Product Announcement from FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc.
FUTEK has provided load cell solutions for several cryogenic applications in various aerospace programs. FUTEK engineers designed a low capacity sensor with a 250 N capacity range for NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that was used in feasibility studies. JPL used this load cell to verify whether or not a load cell could accomplish a number of undisclosed tasks in space.
Additionally, a high capacity load cell for NASA, having a 15,000 lb capacity range was submerged in liquid nitrogen to support a mechanical assembly. This was used to monitor the applied forces for an extended time period. Another example is for the space shuttles external fuel tank, in which a cryogenic load cell was placed in Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to detect the opening and closing of the valves. Detecting these conditions is a critical requirement for NASA to control during space shuttle launches.
Despite these challenges, FUTEK continues to pursue solutions for clients with such extreme needs in the Aerospace, Automotive (both commercial and sport racing), and Medical fields. Critical challenges for continuous use of sensors in extreme environments are:
1. Creating long term stability 2. Producing a repeatable and high precision measurement with low capacity and fine resolution in a confined space or miniature package size 3. Making sure it does not induce/experience high zero shifts when the sensor experiences a temperature cycle from cryogenic to room or higher temperatures 4. Intrinsically safe/explosive proof 5. All material compatible in cryogenic environment