Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor

Ali Abedi

Second Committee Member

Nuri Emanetoglu

Third Committee Member

Richard Eason

Abstract

Wireless communications are being utilized in nearly every field of work and impact virtually everyone's daily life. With the increased use of wireless sensors, the difficulty of powering them becomes more apparent. One emerging technology is the use of wireless energy transfer which utilizes either a designated transmitter or harvests otherwise wasted energy. Since the amount of transferable wireless energy is limited modeling and simulating a system's probability of operation is desired in order to maximize the run time of the sensor. These simulations allow for the investigation into the impact of a smart scheduling algorithm that can determine the ideal time to transmit a signal and consequently maximize the operational probability.

In addition to the investigations into wireless energy transfer simulations, NASA is interested in using wireless displacement sensor for ground tests of structures such as fuel tanks and other spacecraft components. By converting the data lines from wired to wireless, several miles of cabling per structural test wouldn't need to be installed saving significant time and materials. The designed sensor is to have a sampling rate of 1-100Hz with a measurable accuracy of at least 3 thousandths of an inch.

A test bed is designed and built to accurately move an armature of a displacement sensor through the operational range in a repeatable fashion. Testing is conducted on an RDP D2/200a linear variable displacement transformer (LVDT) to compare operational performance in both wired and wireless configurations. Test results are presented and conclusions are drawn regarding the possibility of switching existing wired hardware at NASA with equivalent wireless powered units.

Prototypes of the wireless displacement sensor are constructed and tested in the WiSe-Net lab at the University of Maine. In addition the wireless sensor prototype was tested at NASA MSFC to compare the performance to their existing wired displacement sensor system.

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