Unison Granted Patent for New T1 Sensor

Friday, April 15, 2011

Unison was recently granted US patent 7,845,222 for its’ new T1 turbine engine inlet temperature sensor. This is a new sensor that was developed specifically for the GE Honda HF 120 engine. The key feature of this new sensor is the unique airfoil and pedestal design of its’ outer housing, which improves temperature measurement accuracy, and does not require a heater for de-icing.

A turbine engine T1 sensor is used to measure the density of the air as it enters the engine. This measurement is critical to calculating the proper quantity of fuel to be used in order to achieve the most efficient combustion, which results in both reduced emissions and reduced fuel consumption. The sensor is mounted to the inlet of the engine, where it is exposed to the same atmospheric conditions as the airplane, including water, ice and even birds. The function of the sensors’ outer housing is to manage the airflow around the sensor element as well as filter water and other debris that can impact the accuracy of the sensed temperature. In much the same way as a person getting out of a pool on a windy day and experiencing a cooling effect, improperly managed air flow and water can cause the sensor to report a decreased temperature. The Unison design generates a pressure differential that forces the air to take a 90 degree turn before reaching the sensor element. This patented feature manages the air velocity and also performs a filtering of water and other debris, enabling the temperature readings to be significantly more accurate.

Another unique design feature of Unison’s T1 sensors’ outer housing is that it does not require the use of a heater for de-icing. Since the sensor is located at the engine inlet, it is exposed to the low temperatures of high altitude as well as water, which can lead to ice formation on the sensor. Ice build-up not only causes inaccurate temperature readings, but accumulated ice can break off and potentially cause damage to the engine. Traditional air temperature sensors have heating elements on their leading edge to prevent the formation of ice. The circuitry of these sensors is more complex as it needs to draw power to generate the heat. In addition, the heated leading edge can interfere with temperature reading accuracy. The design of the Unison sensor prevents the build-up of any meaningful amount of ice, without the need to use a heater. This results in a more reliable sensor with improved accuracy, even in harsh environments.

Unison continues to invest in technology to develop accurate and reliable products to meet the challenging demands of our industry. The new Unison T1 sensor is only one example of the many solutions we are continually developing to enable our customers’ engines to perform at their best in all environments.