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Development of low cost packaged fibre optic sensors for use in reinforced concrete structures

Scott, R.H., Chikermane, S., Vidakovic, M. , McKinley, B., Sun, T. ORCID: 0000-0003-3861-8933, Banerji, P. & Grattan, K. T. V. ORCID: 0000-0003-2250-3832 (2019). Development of low cost packaged fibre optic sensors for use in reinforced concrete structures. Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation, 135, pp. 617-624. doi: 10.1016/j.measurement.2018.11.056


There is an ongoing need to measure strains in reinforced concrete structures more reliably and under a range of circumstances e.g. long term durability (such as effects of cracking and reinforcement corrosion), response to normal working loads and response under abnormal load conditions. Fibre optic sensors have considerable potential for this purpose and have the additional advantages, including of immunity to electromagnetic interference and light weight (Grattan et al., 2000). This is important in railway scenarios and particularly so when the lines are electrified. Their small size allows for easy installation. However, their use as commercial ‘packaged’ devices (traditionally seen as necessary to achieve adequate robustness) is limited by their high cost relative to other sensor devices such as encapsulated electric resistance strain gauges. This paper describes preliminary work to produce a cost-effective and easy-to-use technique for encapsulating fibre optic sensors in resin using 3D printing techniques to produce a robust, inexpensive ‘packaged’ sensor system suitable for use with concrete structures. The work done to date has shown this to be a convenient and economical way of producing multiple sensors which were suitable for both surface mounting and embedment in reinforced concrete structures. The proof-of-concept testing to which the trial packages were subjected is described in the paper and the results indicate that 3D printed packages have considerable potential for further development and use in a variety of civil engineering applications, competing well with more conventional sensor systems.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Fibre optic sensor, Encapsulation, 3D printing, Reinforced concrete, Strain measurement
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 1228 Scott measurement_paper_complete.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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