Passive Sensor for the Detection of Hydrazine Leaks in Missile Canisters
Award last edited on: 1/26/2007

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Clyde Wikle

Company Information

Weld Star Technology Inc (AKA: Weld Technology)

8204 Gondola Drive
Orlando, FL 32809
   (334) 887-3985
Location: Multiple
Congr. District: 10
County: Orange

Phase I

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Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Hydrazine is a widely used missile propellant that is highly toxic to humans in low exposures. The maximum exposure limit is 10ppb over an 8 hour time period. To insure the readiness of BMDO missiles and the safety of personnel during missile transport and storage, it is desired to monitor the interior of missile storage canisters for hydrazine leakage. Commercially available hydrazine sensors are either to bulky, draw excessive continuous current or have inadequate operational life to meet expected life cycle times of BMDO missiles. The objective of this proposal is to develop a conductive polymer based, passive MEMs sensor that does not draw continuous power, lasts five years, is small in size, and has a hydrazine sensitivity of a few ppb. Anticipated Benefits/Commercial Applications: Hydrazine and its methyl derivatives are used extensively in rocket propulsion (NASA and DOD) and commercially in the electric power industry as an oxygen scavenging anticorrosive agent. Hydrazine is also used in the synthesis of drugs, fertilizers and polymers. A detector with ppb detection levels would greatly improve the safety of workers from accidental hydrazine leaks.

hydrazine sensor, passive sensor, MEMs, ppb detection levels, thin film, polymer film, chemiresister

Phase II

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Start Date: ----    Completed: ----
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
The objective of this Phase II project is to complete the research required to deliver to the THAAD program for military qualification testing a low cost, easy to use, passive, nonreversible, MEMs based, chemiresistor sensor for the detection of hydrazine in missile canisters. The Air Force has set the maximum exposure limit to hydrazine at 10 ppb for an 8-hour period. A hydrazine sensor is needed to protect personnel from hydrazine leaks and insure the readiness of the THAAD missile. Seventy-five sensors were fabricated under the successful Phase I research effort. The sensor was demonstrated to be able to detect as little as 2 ppb to hundreds of ppm hydrazine with a rapid response time of less than a second. No degradation in the sensor response after 90 days of storage was measured. The sensor delivered for qualification testing will be capable of operating in two modes: 1) a storage monitoring mode where the sensor will monitor long-term levels of hydrazine to insure the integrity of the THAAD missile system and 2) an alarm mode to provide an instantaneous warning that a leak has occurred that could potentially endanger personnel