Detection of Airplane Cabin Air Quality Events from Engine Bleed Air Contaminants

This is Phase II of a research effort to monitor bleed air contamination in aircraft cabins. In Phase I of the research, data and technical reports from three extensive cabin air studies, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) database, and NASA’s Vehicle Integrated Research Project (VIPR) study results were reviewed by the Kansas State University (KSU) research team to determine the type and concentration levels of bleed air contaminants likely to occur in an airplane cabin during normal aircraft operations. Additionally, two cross-functional working groups were established by KSU: one group to identify sensor technology that could potentially be used to detect oil, hydraulic, and deicing fluid contamination in bleed air, and a second group to develop standards for measuring bleed air contaminants and to quantify cabin air quality and bleed air contaminants. Phase I also included planning a series of test stand engine tests using a small turbine engine operating under a variety of engine conditions with a range of potential bleed air contaminants and concentration levels. Phase II of this research project requires conducting experiments on a test stand engine using the engine operating conditions, contaminants and concentration levels of engine/APU oil, airplane hydraulic fluid, and deicing fluid, sensor technology procurement, and associated instrumentation determined during Phase I test stand planning. The method of contaminant injection and sampling will be designed and the associated piping, flow controllers, pumps, adaptors and means to control temperature (if necessary, in the sampling piping) implemented. The experimental facility includes contaminant injection and bleed air sampling and provides standard connectors to which piping, flow controllers, pumps, and adaptors can be added. The testing conducted will consist of real-time sensors and chemical sampling (e.g., SUMMA canisters and cartridge sampling such as DNPH, PUF-XAD, and Tenax).