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National Guard Jet Engine to Help Advance UMaine Sensor Research 

A research team from the University of Maine is getting a big assist from the Maine Air National Guard.As Meghan Hayward tells us, the guard has loaned UMaine a jet engine which will help advance their wireless sensor research.”We’re very excited with this technology because it has achieved a very high technical level of development. We are able now to place the sensors in rotating parts of turbine engines and that’s a first time that thing has been achieved.”This is a project that’s been in the works for ten years.University of Maine faculty, staff and students have been investigating and testing their novel wireless sensors on small model jet engines. But the jet turbine on loan from the Maine Air National Guard allows them to conduct additional tests in realistic turbine engine environments.”Currently one of the major concerns the Air Force has is the maintenance of the fleet. That maintenance is done unnecessarily and very expensive. The savings that this type of technology would provide is several billions of dollars.”With the tiny sensors attached to spinning jet engine blades and other moving parts, technicians can monitor such things as pressure, temperature and corrosion and better control engine health and maintenance.”Due to several applications there is a significant market for this type of harsh environment, high temperature sensors and also the wireless technology that is involved with it.”Colonel John Thomas says the engines in Bangor are over 50 years old and require a lot of maintenance and money.”So monitoring this type of technology in the capacity of reliability is a very critical item for our craft maintenance team.”Colonel Thomas says they’re happy to help the university.”It’s been great working with them. Very professional staff out there and they’ve really impressed us with their approach to technology.”The University of Maine has received more than $3.6 million dollars from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio to help develop the technology for commercialization and deployment in military aircraft.