- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 16 Dec 2020
Distributed fibre-optic strain sensors
The development of distributed fibre-optic strain sensors has resulted in new techniques for monitoring structures and infrastructure such as foundations, embankments and tunnel linings. They offer the opportunity for cost-effectively sensing strain and temperature with a spatial resolution of around 1 metre using conventional fibre-optic cable, either attached to or embedded in a structure. Bending in the cable creates strain in the fibre which can be measured with a fibre optic analyser using the BOTDR (Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometer) or BOTDA (Brillouin Optical Time Domain Analysis) technique. There is no wiring and no electromagnetic interference.
Distributed fibre-optic strain sensors can be used for:
- The measurement of strain in foundations.
- Failure prediction in tunnels and bridges.
- The measurement of strain in oil, gas, and water pipelines.
- Monitoring embankments to predict landslides.
- Measuring structural deformation in nuclear facilities.
Crucial to the effectiveness of this technique of monitoring is the method of attachment to structures. It is important to avoid unintentional twisting or damage to the fibre optic cable and to make sure that the sensor does not creep from attachment points, producing measurement errors. This involves not only the selection of suitable attachment technologies, but also appropriate installation training.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
 External references
- Cambridge Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), Distributed fibre-optic strain sensors.
Featured articles and news
IHBC resource offers improved consistency.
New laws to ‘retain and explain’ historic statues.
The principles and art of the possible. Book review.
From horse and cart to hypermarket.
How elements and processes work together in a systems approach.
CIOB offers digital guide to proactive methods of working.
Tech will drive professional development in fields tied to infrastructure.
The idea for the structure emerged from the architect's dream.
Changing air tightness requirements prompt testing and revisions.
Government takes steps to revise building safety legislation.
Product can be 'grown' into bricks or used as a self-healing building material.
Anticipating COVID-19's continuing construction disruptions.