En’Urga Inc., headquartered at the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, has received a six-month, SBIR Phase I grant from NASA. Purdue University says En’Urga will use the $125,000 grant to design and evaluate a hyperspectral imager, a diagnostic tool to be used at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

En’Urga develops and commercializes diagnostic equipment for use in the manufacturing, research and consumer arenas.

Yudaya Sivathanu, technical director at En’Urga, is the primary investigator of the research and said there are three tasks that will be completed through the Phase I work.

“The first is to design and integrate a breadboard version of the hyperspectral imager to measure path-integrated emission in the mid-infrared region from reacting flows,” said Sivathanu. “The second is to develop an algorithm to obtain spatially and temporally resolved gas concentrations and temperatures from the measurements. The third is to evaluate the system using laboratory-scale experiments.”

Purdue says “the primary commercial application of the hyperspectral imager will be to obtain validation data from the plumes of all types of propulsion devices.” The data is needed to develop advanced propulsion systems, aero engines and associated technologies.

According to Deepa Divakaran, business manager at En’Urga, many advanced propulsion systems are tested at facilities where the exhaust temperatures from the plumes can be very high.

“At the same time, newer rocket and aircraft engines must meet higher thrust-to-weight ratios and improve efficiency, with lower pollutants. Newer propulsion systems also have to achieve higher Mach numbers, often approaching limits of sustainable combustion,” Divakaran said. “These key factors have opened a window of opportunity for the development of a hyperspectral imager that can provide planar spatially resolved temperatures and gas concentrations in turbulent reacting flows.”

Phase I experiments will be carried out at the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories at Purdue University under the guidance of Jay Gore, chair professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. Purdue says Gore will also be a member of En’Urga’s I Corps team.

According to Sivathanu, En’Urga expects that the feasibility of using a hyperspectral imager will be demonstrated conclusively at the end of the project.