08/26/2015 By John Wallace, Senior Editor.
Sensuron (Austin, TX), which makes fiber optic sensing (FOS) systems, has spun off from its sister company, 4DSP (also in Austin). Sensuron provides FOS systems for the aerospace, medical, and energy fields. The global consumption value of fiber-optic point sensors and continuous distributed FOS systems is expected to increase to $2.2 billion by 2018, up from $1.8 billion in 2013, says Sensuron.
The company’s FOS systems operate via optical frequency-domain reflectometry (OFDR) based on fiber Bragg gragings (FBGs). Gratings are placed end-to-end in the fiber (for example, Sensuron’s new RTS 125 system has 2048 sensors per fiber, with 8 fibers monitored, and the RTS 150 has 2048 sensors per fiber with up to 32 fibers monitored; resolution along the fiber is software-selectable to 6.4 mm). The company says that its OFDR-based technique, unlike conventional scattering-based approaches, has a high refresh rate even as the number of sensors increases.
The FOS systems measure minuscule changes in temperature, volume, liquids, and mechanical stress. In addition, the platform can provide 2D and 3D shape sensing, says Sensuron. The systems can be used to monitor the structural health of aircraft, buildings, nuclear equipment, dams, automobiles, trains, wind turbines, and others. They can also precisely measure liquid levels in vats of chemicals, cryogenic liquids, fuel, water, oil, and other substances.
“We have been collaborating with 4DSP, now Sensuron, to develop the next generation of fiber-optic sensing systems for the last 10 years,” says Allen Parker, engineer, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Such systems can be used to measure fuel levels in launch vehicles. Parker notes that the resulting systems are much smaller than other systems previously on the market. The Sensuron systems use very efficient algorithms developed at NASA to increase their speed, he adds.