Space fiber optic application: a short overview

FBG sensors in spaceNew fiber optic solutions provide high-definition and fast fiber optic systems for sensing that become very promising in several space applications. Such advantages as composites in design and lightweight materials make fiber optic sensors highly important for the aerospace industry leading to a great requirement in non-destructive testing.

To be more precise, the development of advanced materials results in the fact that fiber optic sensors are considered to be essential in the design, production of aerospace vehicles, as well as their non-destructive testing. Fiber sensors are regarded as systems with flexible, low-profile optical fibers that do not need electrical sources.

It is possible to use fiber optic systems at sharply curved areas installed within devices or mounted directly to electrical components. Even though fiber optic sensors are compact and lightweight, they allow for distributed sensing directly stress, strain, acoustic, or temperature.

Compared to conventional strain gauges, fiber optic applications offer critical information with high density and low additional cost for various measurement points. A company-manufacturer of fiber optic systems from the U.S. has presented fiber sensors for aerospace industries.

Such fiber optic sensors perform more than 1,000 strain or temperature sensing per meter of a conventional compact, lightweight sensors. Additionally, “the high definition data can fully map the contour of strain or temperature for a structure under test or during manufacturing.”

These fiber sensors are suitable for dynamic applications or where lower sensor density is needed offering high-speed multipoint sensing, with tens or hundreds of fiber optic sensors on versatile optical fibers that cover long distances. Herewith, they provide the opportunity to perform several measurement types, for example, strain, temperature, vibration, or displacement by a single optical fiber.

Fiber optic applications include the aerospace industry and offer a more detailed design validation at every stage of the structural integrity building block process. It should be noted that composites provide a high level of strength-to-weight ratios. Nevertheless, new devices for validating the performance of fiber sensors are needed for their unique properties.

The compact size and distributed sensing of fiber optic sensors enable in-situ characterization for coupon testing, curing process validation, components/module testing as well as full-scale structural health monitoring of complex structures. It is possible to apply these fiber sensors in the predictive maintenance of smart elements.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) product line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, for example, fbg strain sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) systems. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in structural health monitoring systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com

New FBG sensors with copper and aluminum coatings

copper FBG sensorsResearchers-manufacturers of fiber optic solutions from the U.S have presented new fiber Bragg grating sensors (FBG sensors) with copper and aluminum coating. Herewith, this fiber optic system has a compact size, it is hermetically sealed, and can maintain high temperatures leading to new opportunities for metal-coated fiber optic sensors.

To be more precise, FBG sensors and gold-coated sensors allow for developing new “inherently humidity-proof strain, temperature, displacement, acceleration, pressure, load, tilt, bio, and other useful fiber sensors and systems.” The researchers claim that FBG technology is considered to be very useful for numerous sensing applications in harsh environmental conditions because of its benefits provided.

The benefits of FBG sensors include the ability of absolute temperature measurement, rapid response, numerous sensing points on a single optical fiber strand with minimal mechanical burden and intrusion, as well as EMI immunity, spark-free, and chemical inertness.

Nonetheless, such conditions as a high level of humidity or temperatures, corrosive chemicals, or strong mechanical stress often presented in real environmental conditions create obstacles for fiber optic sensors with glass coating. New FBG sensors with copper, aluminum, and gold coatings enable researchers to enlarge current applications and develop new ones.

It should be noted that such processes as stripping and recoating are necessary for all laser writing methods included metals. The researchers demonstrate a robust technique to produce fiber sensors with acrylate, polyimide, aluminum, copper, and gold coatings installed into conventional high-temperature fiber Bragg gratings, which then are recoated with acrylate, polyimide, or gold coatings. 

Thus, such FBG technology makes it possible to change lengths of window stripping and recoating as well as control material thickness and length. Different types of inscription and coating allow for employing FBG sensors in different conditions from the cryogenic temperature of -200℃ to the high temperatures of +1000℃. 

These FBG sensors have a metal coating, and they are created by excimer and/or femtosecond laser writing methods. Additionally, the fiber optic system has been already tested, and the results show specific benefits in offering multipoint and multifunction sensing abilities in a constantly expanding range of applications not previously addressable by standard FBGs. The thing is that the coating of properly designed fiber optic sensors plays a crucial role in the integrity, survivability, functionality, and durability of FBG sensors.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) product line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, for example, fbg strain sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) systems. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in structural health monitoring systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com