Photonic alternative to pitot tube developed

March 24, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:54 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

Director of Gayatri Vidya Parishad Scientific and Industrial Research Centre Rao Tatavarti explaining the working of a Wind Tunnel built using local material at the centre’s lab in Visakhapatnam.

Director of Gayatri Vidya Parishad Scientific and Industrial Research Centre Rao Tatavarti explaining the working of a Wind Tunnel built using local material at the centre’s lab in Visakhapatnam.

The thin metre-long tube protruding from the nose of every aircraft would be a thing of the past once the Photonic-based system is commercialised.

The air pressure measurement device – Pitot-static tube – is an essential component and the flight systems are built around it. The Pitot tube creates a gap in the aircraft cone based sensors and serious research has been on to find a replacement. Multi-billion dollar research on use of Laser Based Remote Monitoring Technologies for monitoring air data products which are fundamental necessities for safety, navigation and stability of aircrafts is at technology demonstration stage.

City-based Gayatri Vidya Parishad Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (GVP-SIRC) has developed - taraNi – a photonic system that is based on back scattering of light with measurement in nanometre resolution.

It is a compact, lightweight, cheap, direct detection optical system that can directly measure wind speed and direction, density, pressure and temperature of a body of air, ahead of a moving aircraft - whose operative conditions may vary from speeds ranging from zero to hypersonic, from flight altitudes varying from sea level to 18 kilometres, from flight paths across sea and land.

It was designed and developed, based on novel theoretical considerations, 600+ laboratory experiments at GVP-SIRC and field trials and new algorithms, director GVP-SIRC Rao Tatavarti told The Hindu .

The prototype of taraNi — optical air data systems — was recently handed over to the National Aeronautical Laboratory after comprehensive evaluation trials and the NAL’s supersonic wind tunnel facility for wind speeds up to Mach 2.

Appreciating the results of the prototype Outstanding Scientist and Project Director of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft of the Aeronautical Development Agency A.K. Ghosh wrote a letter of appreciation and expressed interest in continuing to collaborate with the Gayatri Vidya Parishad in the project.

The photonics system uses Physics, Fluid Mechanics, Lasers, Optoelectronics, Computer and Mechanical Engineering and was developed with local resources at minimal cost, Prof Tatavarti said.

The remotely operable, portable light weight system (taraNi) can be easily integrated on board any platform, and once commercialized it could effectively replace the Pitot-static tube system on all aircraft, he added.

City-based Gayatri Vidya Parishad Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (GVP-SIRC) has developed - taraNi – a photonic system that is based on back scattering of light with measurement in nanometre resolution

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