Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Russel V. Westphal

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


This thesis describes the design, assembly, and test of the FTDS-K, a new device in the Boundary Layer Data System (BLDS) family of flight data acquisition systems. The FTDS-K provides high-frequency, high-gain data acquisition capability for up to two pressure sensors and an additional three low-frequency pressure sensors. Development of the FTDS-K was separated into a core module, specialized analog subsystem, and practical testing of the FTDS-K in a flow measurement mission. The core module combines an nRF52840-based microcontroller module, switching regulator, microSD card, real-time clock, temperature sensor, and trio of pressure sensors to provide the same capabilities as previous-generation BLDS-P devices. An expansion header is included in the core module to allow additional functionality to be added via daughter boards. An analog signal chain comprised of two-stage amplification and fourth-order active antialiasing filters was implemented as a daughter board to provide an AC-coupled end-to-end gain of 7,500 and a DC-coupled end-to-end gain of 50. This arrangement was tested in a wind tunnel to demonstrate that sensors with a full-scale range of 103 kPa can be used to reliably discriminate between laminar and turbulent flows based on pressure fluctuation differences on the order of tens of Pa. A combination of wind-off correction and band-filtering was used to reduce the effect of inherent and induced electrical noise, while two-sensor correlation was tested and shown to be effective at removing certain types of noise. Total power consumption for the FTDS-K in a representative mission is 208 mW, which translates to an operational endurance of 9 hours with 2 AAA LiFeS2 cells at -40°C.