Researchers Work On Wire Fault Detector
University of Utah researchers are working on a device, which, if it works, could help prevent one of the most common causes of aircraft fires. Prof. Cynthia Furse and her students are hoping to create a wire fault detector that works while the plane is in the air. During flight, condensation can trigger tiny short circuits in cracked or worn wiring that can lead to much more serious problems. "We are working on developing an intermittent, live wire fault location system that can locate the fault within one foot," Furse told the student newspaper, the Daily Utah Chronicle. Detecting the shorts isnít the big problem. Doing it without disrupting the signals and information being carried on the wires is the major obstacle, but Furse said theyíre closing in on it. Her work has led to establishment of LiveWire Test Labs in Salt Lake City and itís helping Furse and her students bring the device to market. "The systems are not yet ready for installation, but it is estimated that by 2010 to 2012, they should be a common part of airplanes," Live Wire employee Mike Diamond said.