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Acoustic Ultrasound Leak Detection in Aerospace

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Operating equipment in the volatile conditions of the earth’s atmosphere can be a challenge, whether you are trying to mitigate the impact of a blocked pitot tube on your aircraft, or searching for an oxygen leak on your equipment in space. Regardless, having reliable asset maintenance in an aerospace system is crucial for successful transportation and safe returns.

Astronauts currently stationed on the International Space Station (ISS) have been looking for a small vacuum leak that has reportedly been growing in size for over a year. After numerous tests in various vestibules, astronauts have been recently able to pinpoint the leak to two possible sections, making the search for the leak much easier.

While a leak on the ISS is certainly not ideal, the astronauts aboard have ensured us that this leak is currently non-threatening. However, in order to ensure proper oxygenation of the station, the leak needs to be found in a timely fashion, as the supplementary oxygen pumped into the facility is currently a costly and temporary solution.

Given the complex intricacies of functioning in space, many people assume that the technologies used to find such a leak must be incredibly expensive and proprietary hardware. However, the ISS is utilizing a form of ultrasound technology commonly found on earth - acoustic A&SB ultrasound, which uses equipment such as CTRL's UL101 Leak Detector to pinpoint the location of leaks.

Since 2001, NASA and the ISS Astronauts have been using ultrasound technologies for condition based monitoring on the station. The first kit was delivered to the Space Station on July 12, 2001, and since then the UL101 has been used for leak detection and general diagnostics.

Historically , the UL101 has helped the astronauts find a similar leak in 2004. In January of that year, Astronauts were able to locate and fix the 0.04 psi leak. This discovery couldn't have happened at a better time; if the leak had not been fixed, the Astronauts would have been grounded in a singular section for almost 5 days, stopping all experiments and space ventures.

The Ul101 and Ultrasound Technologies are as effective on our commercial planes as they are for NASA rockets and International Space Station chambers. For Commercial Aviation Industries, Ultrasound Technology can be used for monitoring pressurization, air conditioning, Bleed Air Check, Oxygen, and other pressure components. To see if Ultrasound Leak Detection Technology is right for you, contact one of our Ultrasound Experts today!

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