Fiber Optic Applications

Fiber Optic Applications For Structural Health Monitoring

As the nation’s infrastructure ages and air, land, and space vehicles grow ever more complex, the need for accurate and reliable structural health monitoring is imperative to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Utilizing Sensuron’s groundbreaking distributed sensing technology, engineers can perform continuous real-time monitoring of critical structures.

Mechanical strain, stress, loads, temperature, and deflection are just a few of the various engineering parameters that can be monitored.

Using Sensuron technology, a hair-like optical fiber can be transformed into thousands of fiber optic strain gauges – with only a single instrumentation cable required.

Multiple fibers can be deployed across a structure to create an effectively weightless network of sensors, capable of continuously monitoring structural health at several thousand locations – thus protecting critical assets.

Ideal SHM applications include:

  • Crack Detection
  • Deformation Monitoring in Civil Infrastructure
  • Composite Embedment
  • Wing/Blade Deflection Monitoring
  • Flight Loads Monitoring
  • Cryogenic Liquid-Level Monitoring

Fiber Optic Applications For Structural Design Optimization

From static testing of small components to fatigue testing of full-scale structures, Sensuron’s distributed fiber optic sensing technology is transforming and evolving the methods used to conduct structural testing.

For complex structures, engineers often rely on computational tools such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to determine if the structure can support the loads it will see in operation.

Validation of the Finite Element Model (FEM) is critical in ensuring that the model precisely mimics the behavior of the real physical structure. Using Sensuron’s distributed strain sensing technology, a single optical fiber can act akin to thousands of strain gauges installed adjacent to one another.

This provides an unprecedented level of insight into the behavior of a structure and allows engineers to perform comprehensive model validation at thousands of discrete points, instead of just a few.

Ideal structural testing applications include:

  • Finite Element Model (FEM) Validation
  • Fatigue Testing
  • On-Board Vehicle Testing
  • Limited and Ultimate Load Testing
  • Composite Materials Testing
  • Composite Embedment

Fiber Optic Applications for Thermal Mapping

For many industrial and commercial processes, temperature monitoring is essential to ensure operational safety and efficiency.

Conventional electric temperature sensors can perform adequately if they are replaced often and are effectively shielded from EMI.

However, they all suffer from the same inherent limitation: they can only measure temperature at a single point or location.

Distributed temperature sensing technology provides a new level of insight into surface and ambient temperature distributions, allowing users to thermally map areas of interest, in real-time, with a spatial resolution as low as 1.6 mm.

This level of data granularity can’t be achieved using traditional single-point temperature sensors.

Due to its small size, chemical inertness, and immunity to electromagnetic interference, optical fiber can be installed in environments that alternative sensors cannot operate in.

Processes that rely on maintaining temperature uniformity stand to benefit greatly from these capabilities, including:

  • Design and monitoring of temperature distribution
  • Ice detection
  • Thermally mapping path of fluid for heat exchanger (radiators)
  • Understanding thermal gradients
  • Validating computational fluid dynamic models
  • Cryogenic tank monitoring
  • Optimizing thermal design
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Thermal characterization of electrical components and equipment

Fiber Optic Applications For 3D Shape Sensing

3D Shape Sensing technology has been spun out and is now available from The Shape Sensing Company.

3D shape sensing technology tracks position and shape in a spatially continuous manner, providing high-resolution information about the location of the entire length of an optical fiber.

Data is generated and plotted in real-time and displayed visually on a monitor to show the continuous position of the sensor.

This improved positional awareness can help with real-time guidance of almost any tool.

In addition, optical shape sensors are virtually weightless, minimally invasive, and can be embedded or attached to almost any structure to monitor 3D shape, independent of temperature or load from the environment.

Ideal applications include:

  • Inspection tool shape/position feedback, digital twin
  • Structural displacement monitoring
  • Robotics
  • Shape and position of machinery arms
  • Positional feedback for morphing structures
  • Human body positioning
  • Biomechanical movement measurement
  • Umbilical for remotely operated vehicles
  • Mining, boring, and drilling positioning
  • No-line-of-sight manual inspections
  • Soil settling

For more information on Fiber-Optic applications, please Contact us.

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