Analysis of organic technologies as alternatives for hydrogen sensing devices currently installed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida

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Stoewe, Russell Joseph

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The launch pads located at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, are exposed to some of the harshest conditions known, and any structures and devices located within the blast radius – though protected – must be robust enough to survive. Also, several potentially hazardous materials are present in large quantities in these locations and must be monitored closely. Proven sensor devices are in place, but sensing technologies have advanced rapidly recently. Possibilities exist for the replacement of these devices with more innovative, reliable units. In this analysis, current system configuration was evaluated to determine if performance was adequate, and subsequent results were compared to laboratory experimentation using organic technologies. These organics are relatively inexpensive, reliable, and robust, and such characteristics make them attractive to engineers locating systems in adverse environments. Testing of the devices currently in place demonstrated that the drawbacks that are sometimes associated with organic devices – namely response time, carrier mobility, and sensitivity – were not high priorities for launch pads systems. Furthermore, the testing conducted on the organic devices showed their potential as less expensive substitutes for the inorganics. More complete testing is required, but implementation of organic technology in these systems is likely a worthwhile endeavor


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