Opto-mechanical design for sight windows under high loads

Balazs Ihracska, Roy James Crookes, Diogo Montalvão, Mohammad Reza Herfatmanesh, Jun Peng, Shahid Imran, Theodosios Korakianitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, the design aspects of optically accessible pressure vessels are investigated via a case study of a High Pressure Combustor experimental rig. The rig was designed to take optical measurements of combustion, simulating the conditions found in internal combustion engines and turbines. Although, it is not new to equip chambers and reactors with sight windows, important aspects of design and relevant information regarding optical access is missing or are insufficiently explored or not readily accessible in the existing literature. A comprehensive review of requirements for optical access to such high-pressure, high-temperature systems has been conducted. It is shown in a readily-navigable format as function of application and precision, with data and technical correlations hitherto not found in a ‘user-friendly’ style. The material selection procedure is detailed and supported by a complete comparison of optical materials and relevant properties. The review revealed a significant inconsistency in mechanical properties claimed in the literature for optical materials. As a response to this, increased safety factor values are suggested as function of level of uncertainties and effects of failure, typically three to four times higher than the industrial standard. Moreover, newly developed equations are presented linking performance analysis to the design criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-444
Number of pages15
JournalMaterials & Design
Early online date27 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2017


  • Combustion
  • Optical engine
  • Optically-accessible reactor
  • Pressure vessel
  • Sapphire
  • Window design


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