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FBG sensors for Structural Health Monitoring

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is considered to be one of the most effective modern fiber optic technologies. Its aim is to provide robust information about engineering structures’ integrity and safety. Thanks to it, specialists can indicate the need for repair or retirement in advance and eliminate problems. Such a system of structural condition monitoring is based on fiber Bragg grating sensors.

FBG sensors for Structural Health Monitoring

Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors as a part of structural health monitoring systems

FBG sensors have proved to be reliable monitoring instruments. Thanks to the variety of FBG sensors, they have a great advantage in comparison with other technologies.

The main types of Fiber Bragg Grating sensors:

  • Temperature sensors;
  • Strain sensors;
  • Displacement sensors;
  • Pressure sensors, etc.

Newly developed FBG sensors are widely applied to measure and register static values in various industries. Scientists have discovered their abilities in ultrasonic detection and capacity for ultrasonic structural health monitoring. To provide the accuracy of the results, ultrasonic detection needs a broad bandwidth and high sensitivity. That’s why Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors need to be properly designed, taking into account data process and installation methods.

Main steps for structural health monitoring implementation

SHM allows the predictive maintenance of engineering structures and machines. There is no need in turning the whole system off because structural health monitoring can detect damages while operating. Mechanisms can keep working over a long period of time.

There are three main steps for SHM implementation:

  • Finding the most suitable locations for FBG sensors. It means the modeling of the most probable simulation. Engineers identify critical areas where it is better to install sensors.
  • Data gathering. At this step, FBG sensors monitor the health of the structures in normal and maximum loading conditions. They need to know the usual numbers for loading conditions to see any differences in the future. The received data also allows conducting a statistical study to determine the normal functionality of the engineering structures.
  • Comparison of the received data and standard behavior rates. Special algorithm(s) allows comparison even without extra manpower. If the values obtained don’t match the predetermined level, the software defines whether there is a possibility of structural failure. If ‘yes’, then the program informs about problems that have arisen with warnings and alarms.

The areas in which structural health monitoring systems are most commonly used, for example, are the gas and oil industry. In addition, recently this technology has been applied on a fish farm. Specialists have designed a customized structural health monitoring system that allows them to see the whole picture of fish farming’s biological and technological aspects. Fiber optic technology still has a wide range of industries to develop.

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