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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
 External references
- Cambridge Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), Distributed fibre-optic strain sensors.
Featured articles and news
Why buildings crack, how cracks are categorised and what can be done.
Inaugurated last week, the new Elbphilharmonie concert venue; a soaring new addition to Hamburg's skyline.
Summary of a new ICE Transport journal which says improving transport infrastructure is essential to eradicating global poverty.
BRE look at a new government report into the accuracy of heat meters.
Herzog & de Meuron get planning permission for revamp of Chelsea FC football stadium.
UK-GBC green paper proposes more powers for cities on new-build housing.
The Pompidou Centre – not a monument but an event.
The Chartered Institute of Building restructures and launches 29 new local hubs.
Designing Buildings Wiki talks to the founder of the world's first indoor biophilic gym, now open in London.
£1.3bn Swansea Bay project to be backed as a 'pathfinder' for other tidal lagoon projects.
Designs released for a proposed Las Vegas stadium to entice the Oakland Raiders.
Have a look at these award-winning concept designs for a thermal bath in Latvia.