For decades, discrete point sensing technologies such as strain gauges and thermocouples have served as reliable tools for measuring strain and temperature. However, the concept of ‘good enough’ has often hindered innovation in the field. The emergence of distributed fiber optic sensing platforms has revolutionized the measurement landscape by offering spatially continuous, real-time data and the ability to sense multiple parameters simultaneously. This post explores the advantages of distributed fiber optic strain sensing, delving into how it enhances model validation, improves processes, ensures structural safety, and accelerates development.
Benefits of Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing
- Enhance Model Validation: Distributed strain and temperature data play a pivotal role in efficiently and confidently validating Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and thermal models. By monitoring full strain profiles, these advanced sensing systems can reveal how loads are distributed throughout a structure. Sensuron’s ruggedized fiber optic sensing platform, the RTS125, exemplified this capability in its collaboration with NASA Armstrong on their Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge project. Real-time strain data provided insights into wing behavior during flight, enabling the optimizing of wing shape for increased fuel efficiency and noise reduction.
- Improve Measurement Processes: Unlike traditional technologies that collect data at specific critical points, Sensuron’s fiber optic sensing platforms provide fully distributed strain and temperature data. This comprehensive view allows engineers to measure structural behavior at critical points and everywhere in between. For example, embedding a distributed sensor in a composite structure during the layup process assists in detecting defects, leading to improvements in the manufacturing process of composite materials. This technology can also aid in creating thermal profiles during injection molding and die-casting processes, enhancing understanding and avoiding defects.
- Ensure the Safety of Structures: Distributed fiber optic sensing systems overcome the spatial resolution challenges faced in Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems. With spatial resolution as low as 1.6 mm, these systems provide continuous monitoring for SHM. This enables the creation of a continuous structural health monitoring system, detecting, localizing, and characterizing damage to a structure. Asset management organizations can deploy Sensuron’s technology to enhance the integrity of their structures.
- Accelerate Development: The ability to monitor multiple parameters simultaneously significantly speeds up the development process. Sensuron’s multi-sensing platforms, capable of monitoring parameters like strain, temperature, and deflection, offer a versatile solution. These platforms streamline testing processes, allowing for rapid validation tests in various conditions. This adaptability, coupled with distributed strain and temperature data, enables projects to be completed ahead of schedule.
Armed with distributed strain and temperature data from fiber optic sensors, engineers can overcome the limitations of legacy technologies. The reluctance to adopt fiber optic sensing often stems from a lack of familiarity with the technology. Sensuron prioritizes customer success by providing the training and resources necessary to understand, install, and operate fiber optic sensing systems.
Embracing distributed fiber optic strain sensing is not just about overcoming the shortcomings of traditional sensors; it’s a leap towards innovation, efficiency, and unparalleled insight into the behavior of materials and structures. The ability to monitor, validate, and optimize designs opens new avenues for product development across various industries, propelling us into a future where ‘good enough’ is no longer the standard.
Contact us today to learn more about how Sensuron’s tailored solutions can enhance your distributed strain and temperature sensing efforts.