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Consumer Product Thermal History Sensor

An inexpensive and versatile sensor to record the extent, duration, and sequence of thermal events. The sensor consists of different polymeric films or substrates. Temperature changes alter the infrared (IR) absorption characteristics of these materials in predictable and measurable ways. The changes represent data readable via a simple IR scanner.

Unlike simple binary sensors that indicate if a particular temperature was or was not exceeded, the Air Force sensor records changes on a continuum, making it possible to know that not only was the threshold temperature exceeded, but also by how much. The use of multiple materials enables the sensor to also record the duration of exposure as well as the sequence in which it happens. This feature also enhances the versatility of the device as it can be used for different products with different critical temperature points. Unlike complex real-time and other continuous monitoring technologies, the sensor does not require power or separate data storage, and is wireless. Finally, the sensor is reusable by heating to certain temperature for a prescribed period of time. Key applications include monitoring the integrity of pharmaceutical products, ensuring quality foods and beverages, and monitoring the degradation of consumer electronics, batteries, and even textiles.

BENEFITS/ADVANTAGES:
  • Simple: Sensors are small, unobtrusive, wireless, and do not require power
  • Robust: Engineered to record the thermal history of critical components at high temperatures
  • Cost Effective: Potential to reduce maintenance and life cycle costs by knowing the extent, length of time, and sequence of thermal events enables more

Additional Details

Owner

Department of Defense

Intellectual Property Protection

Patent Issued



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