This thesis presents the design, fabrication and testing of novel grating based Optical Fibre Sensor (OFS) systems being interrogated using “off the shelf” interrogation systems, with the eventual development of marketable commercial systems at the forefront of the research.
Both in the industrial weighing and aerospace industries, there has been a drive to investigate the feasibility of using optical fibre sensors being deployed where traditionally their electrical or mechanical counterparts would traditionally have been. Already, in the industrial weighing industry, commercial operators are deploying OFS-based Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) systems. Likewise, in the aerospace industry, OFS have been deployed to monitor such parameters as load history, impact detection, structural damage, overload detection, centre of gravity and the determination of blade shape.
Based on the intrinsic properties of fibre Bragg gratings (FBGs) and Long Period Fibre Gratings (LPFGs), a number of novel OFS-based systems have been realised.
Experimental work has shown that in the case of static industrial weighing, FBGs can be integrated with current commercial products and used to detect applied loads. The work has also shown that embedding FBGs in e-glass, to form a sensing patch, can result in said patches being bonded to rail track, forming the basis of an FBG-based WIM system. The results obtained have been sufficiently encouraging to the industrial partner that this work will be progressed beyond the scope of the work presented in this thesis.
Likewise, and to the best of the author’s knowledge, a novel Bragg grating based systems for aircraft fuel parameter sensing has been presented. FBG-based pressure sensors have been shown to demonstrate good sensitivity, linearity and repeatability, whilst LPFG-based systems have demonstrated a far greater sensitivity when compared to FBGs, as well the advantage of being potentially able to detect causes of fuel adulteration based on their sensitivity to refractive index (RI). In the case of the LPFG-based system, considerable work remains to be done on the mechanical strengthening to improve its survivability in a live aircraft fuel tank environment. The FBG system has already been developed to an aerospace compliant prototype and is due to be tested at the fuel testing facility based at Airbus, Filton, UK.
It is envisaged by the author that in both application areas, continued research in this area will lead to the eventual development of marketable commercial products.
- optical fibre sensors
- fuel level sensing