Date of Award

Summer 8-2011

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Randy Buchanan

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Amer Dawoud

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Zhaoxian Zhou

Committee Member 3 Department



All commercial liquid-propelled rockets use hydrogen as means to reach outer space. These rocket boosters are tested on the ground and use hydrogen as means of purging the remaining explosive gasses left in the test tanks. To conserve helium, a non-renewable resource, a test fixture was developed to characterize and test sensors that could improve the accuracy and response of the current system. By improving response time of the system, helium waste during the purge process can be minimized. The test fixture was constructed to simulate temperatures and pressures that are encountered at the testing facilities. The test fixture is outfitted with an array of sensors and valves to ensure proper simulation of the environment and safety of the personnel. Initial calibration and field verification on the hydrogen sensor were performed to ensure proper operation in an ideal environment and to prepare the sensor for testing outside the manufacturer-specified limits. Several configurations were implemented to optimally balance between response time and accuracy of the system. Implementation of a sensor array such as this would save money, time and helium wasted during each and every test.