Fiber Optic Technology and its recent advances

Fiber Optic Technology advancesDuring the last 60 years, fiber optic technology has been applied to improve the efficiency of developed systems in various spheres like medicine, vehicles, and other industries. Modern fiber optic solutions expand the abilities by implementing levels of data and sensing technology in the energy, medical field, and even aerospace. There are various fiber optic solutions that help researchers improve their development and make new discoveries in science.

Intrinsic and extrinsic fiber optic sensors are two wide categories of fiber optic sensors. Extrinsic fiber optic sensors utilize the fiber to manage the light to a sensing region. Then the optical signal is modulated in another environment. Talking about the intrinsic fiber optic sensors, the light remains within the waveguide. So it measures the influence of the optical fiber signal.

Intrinsic fiber optic sensor technology, where the fiber optic sensor is the fiber optic cable itself, has improved significantly during recent years. There are two main technologies connected to intrinsic fiber optic sensors: scattering and FBG. FBG methods can be fully distributed or have many sensing points. With the help of FBG sensors, scientists can define the changes by getting precise measurements. Scattering techniques depend on natural imperfections occurring in the fiber optic cable. The FBGs have a high signal-to-noise ratio in comparison with scattering techniques.

Both scattering and FBGs use different demodulation techniques. Scattering techniques get the information by observing changes in naturally back-scattering patterns. For FBG based technology, wavelength division multiplexing is the most prevalent demodulation technique. However, in certain circumstances, optical frequency domain reflectometry can become the most useful method.

Wavelength division multiplexing is able to spread to large distances and get the data rapidly. This technology can also support multiple fiber Bragg gratings on a fiber. It observes critical points more than the whole field of the data. That is why it is mostly applied in automobile crash testing as a monitoring instrument.

The scattering techniques can cover long distances and give a distributed profile of the data. They obtain information all over the entire fiber optic cable. Many systems on the market measure temperature or acoustics and are called Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) or Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). These techniques are usually applied in monitoring a pipeline for tampering, for example, where there is no need for high-speed acquisition.

Optical frequency domain reflectometry is another demodulation technique that is mostly applied with FBG sensors where fiber Bragg gratings are placed really close and create a fully distributed sensing fiber. It has many advantages like the combination of high spatial resolution, a bunch of fiber optic sensors, a quick refresh rate, and a full distribution set. Apart from distributed sensing of a strain and temperature, this technology allows defining 2D deflection, liquid level, magnetic fields, etc.

Nowadays, thanks to fiber optic technology, scientists have an opportunity to solve any problems in their designs by using fiber optic systems. And there are still many possibilities for fiber optic technology in the future.

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

Distributed Sensing market and its growth forecast

Distributed Sensing market forecastAccording to the researchers, the distributed sensing market is predicted to reach more than $891 million by 2026. The distributed temperature sensing power cables and distributed acoustic sensing systems, as well as global environmental changes, are expected to increase the demand significantly. The modern advancements and developments connected with the light-sized fiber optic systems stimulate globally the distributed sensing market. Moreover, the growth of the distributed sensing market can also be explained by the government’s support for distributed temperature sensing technology.

Nowadays, there are many appliances of distributed sensing systems. There is an extensive need for monitoring continuous temperature changes within big territories and long distances, for example, in the oil sphere. The distributed temperature sensing systems are also applied in subsea areas. Distributed sensing can also help in providing security and productivity in different market sectors in the upcoming years. Moreover, fiber optic solutions are more often applied in fire detection processes.

In April the newly developed fiber optic system got a reward for the innovative approach and commercialization. The fiber optic system expands the coverage of distributed sensors. As a result, this innovation gives new possibilities in many fields such as energy, infrastructure, and environmental sectors. This fiber optic technology allows the collection of more precise data. That could lead to the improvement of sustainability, enhancing operational safety, and getting optimal costs for existing and new applications.

Distributed fiber optic sensors offer sensitivity 100 times greater than the usual ones. The higher sensitivity solves the emerging critical problem and challenges fast. That allows monitoring the situation continuously. This fiber optic technology also provides all the advantages such as carbon capture, improved geothermal systems, and dam integrity monitoring as well as subsea oil and gas wells.

In conclusion, distributed sensing systems are a very promising technology for many sectors. Thanks to the distributed sensors that are extremely sensitive to any slight changes, they can provide the most precise picture in comparison with other modern technologies.

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

Distributed fiber optic sensors and their prospects

distributed fiber optic sensorsModern industrial systems are subject to increasingly strict requirements. Structural health monitoring must always work reliably regardless of environmental conditions. Observability and manageability become an important parameter. The operator must be able to detect a problem, including a potential one, determine the location of its occurrence, and respond in a timely manner, taking the necessary measures to reduce time and material costs in emergency situations.

Current fiber optic sensing technologies make it possible to continuously, accurately and in real-time detect small changes in temperature, acoustic background, and deformations in any place of an industrial facility. Fiber optic cables, which are traditionally used in the telecom industry for transmitting information, come to the rescue to perform this. Depending on the type of devices connected to the optical cable, it is possible to detect various environmental events at a long distance (up to several tens of kilometers) performing structural health monitoring. The sensitive medium is the optical fiber and a huge number of “virtual” sensors inside it.

DAS (Distributed Acoustic Sensing) are “virtual” microphones installed along with the optical fiber. Standard single-mode optical fiber and Rayleigh scattering are used when acoustic vibrations cause small changes in the refractive index that are detected using this scattering. The fiber literally “hears” events occurring in the environment. The number of DAS is a combination of spatial resolution, distance, and pulse duration. Modern distributed fiber optic sensors can operate at distances of up to 80 km. Combining several devices into a single network allows for creating thousands of kilometers of structural health monitoring lines.

DTS (Distributed Temperature Sensing) is “virtual” thermometers along with the optical fiber. The distance range for a conventional single-mode fiber is up to 100 km with a spatial resolution of 1 to 5 meters and a measurement accuracy of less than 1 degree Celsius, with a measurement time of 2 to 30 minutes. These parameters are interdependent. For example, the longer the measurement time is, the better the spatial resolution and accuracy of the measurement are, and vice versa. 

Herewith, analytics show that the market for such distributed fiber optic sensors will grow by at least 10% per year in the foreseeable future. These fiber optic systems are most in-demand in North America. In terms of application, the oil and gas industry has the greatest potential. Temperature control prevails by type of monitoring.

Over the past 10 years, fiber optic sensing technology has been used to monitor thousands of kilometers of pipelines, thousands of oil and gas wells, and more. There are numerous fiber optic solutions that allow accelerating the introduction of promising technology in the industry, devices, and fiber optic cables are constantly being improved and become more accurate and affordable.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) product line such as fiber Bragg grating 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

Benefits and Risks of Real Time Thermal Rating Systems

FBG sensors in real time thermal ratingA real-time thermal rating system has been developed initially for overhead transmission lines using actual meteorological data and real-time conductor temperatures and line loadings. Such a real-time thermal rating system provides much higher ampacity ratings than other conventional methods. A natural convective heat equation is developed for stranded conductors. The temperature of the conductor is solved directly without resorting to an iterative solution.

The temperature of an asset itself, such as a power cable, is a key for a real-time thermal rating system. This can be measured continuously if equipment utilizes a distributed temperature sensing (DTS) system. Distributed temperature sensing optical fibers are installed along with the fiber cable. The fiber cable can also be utilized for telecoms purposes as DTS systems typically utilize standard telecoms fiber optics.

Thermal headroom typically is determined using static ratings which are based upon probabilistic methods and are representative of worst-case scenarios. The “static” design calculation methods provide simple and conservative estimates of network capacity. In reality, networks can be complex and operational ratings can be influenced by multiple factors including weather conditions and loading. Soil condition, buried depth, burial configuration, cable size, and type must be considered for underground equipment.

The real-time thermal rating system works with such assets as:

 

  • Underground and subsea cables

 

Experience has shown that cable depth, soil type, and the shape of the load curve have a material impact on ratings. The real-time thermal rating system can determine actual thermal headroom indicating whether some unused network capacity can be released or locations where networks are constrained.

 

  • Overhead lines

 

  • Sag-based
  • Tension-based
  • Temperature-based
  • Current rating-based

 

  • Transformers

 

The real-time thermal rating systems for transformers utilize measurements including transformer load, ambient, and transformer temperatures based on the equations set out in IEC 6007. With the exception of emergency ratings, P15 recommends using an average ambient temperature and a weighted average that products the same aging if the temperature varies over a load cycle.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) products line: fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems. We create and supply a broad variety of top-notch fiber optic solutions for the monitoring of various facilities all over the world. Our main goal is to deliver the best quality fiber optic products to our clients. We produce a wide range of fiber optic devices, including our cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems.

If you are interested in Optromix distributed temperature sensing systems, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber optic well monitoring

The well integrity has become a critical concern after recent events in the oil industry, such as oil spills. The interaction of a salt layer with the cement and casting for Pre-salt wells is a concern for fiber optic well monitoring and the structural integrity of the well. The development of continuous monitoring tools for well structural integrity is an ongoing task for the oil industry.

Continuous fiber optic well monitoring has the advantage of allowing the quantification of the time needed for an event. Casting integrity logging operations may provide information regarding the damage location, however, the time in the life of the well when the damage happened or the process of the well degradation can not be determined. The logging operations can only provide information on the condition of the well at a particular time, not continuously. Continuous monitoring can help to correlate well damage and events that could be the cause of the damage, like outside intervention, allowing for corrective and preventive measures to take place.

The two main parameters that need to be measured are strain and temperature. The strain in fiber optic well monitoring can indicate the strain in the casting that is caused by the creep of the salt layer. Distributed temperature sensing may be used to indicate the positioning of the cement slurry, diagnose the curing process, and indicate the cementing failures.

The sensors need to be installed outside the production casing of the production liner. The size of the sensors, therefore, is required to be small. DTS sensors, in particular, are compact and are easy to install onto any surface. However, the mounting process of the sensors needs to be delicate as the casing properties may degrade. Fiber optic well monitoring solutions shouldn’t be intrusive as the sensors could potentially cause issues, like poor isolation.

Optromix, Inc. is a U.S. manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market, based in Cambridge, MA. Our team always strives to provide the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for our clients. Our main goal is to deliver the best quality fiber optic products to our clients. We produce a wide range of fiber optic devices, including our cutting edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Optromix, Inc. is a top choice among the manufacturers of fiber Bragg grating monitoring systems. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Real Time Thermal Rating systems

RTTR, or Real-Time Thermal Rating, is a method of assessing real-time operational thermal rating of the equipment, or the amount of electrical current that a power line or an electrical facility can endure before suffering critical damage. Thermal rating devices can be used to measure the temperature of overhead power lines, transformers, underground and subsea cables.

Real-time thermal rating systems rely on real-time data from environmental conditions rather than theoretical assumptions and predictions. These systems are able to not only measure the thermal ratings in real-time but also to measure the stress levels of certain areas and determine their capacity. The calculation of the thermal ratings happen on the basis of: 1) weather conditions; 2) electrical current; 3) temperature of the equipment. However, other factors may need to be considered; this depends on the environment where real-time thermal rating needs to be performed. For example, soil condition, burial depth, and configuration must be considered for temperature measurement of underground cables, the mass of the transformer and type of the cooling mechanisms for temperature measurement of transformers, etc.

The key to the real-time thermal rating system, the temperature of the asset, should be continuously measured to avoid heating of the asset to dangerous levels. Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems should be used for this purpose, otherwise, only predictions about the temperature can be made.

The main advantage of real-time thermal rating systems is their ability to accurately measure the thermal behavior of assets, taking into consideration factors that static ratings do not. Static rating calculations are often overly conservative, therefore some power lines are often not used up to their full potential, while others are overloaded, which causes premature aging.

Thermal rating systems may be implemented into different types of power assets. Underground cable monitoring benefits greatly from introducing real-time thermal rating systems as they measure soil ambient temperature and soil thermal resistivity; these measurements help to determine actual thermal headroom to indicate unused network capacity.  

The thermal rating of the overhead power lines, depending on the actual system used, takes either the sag of the lines, the tension of the line conductor, the temperature of the line conductor, or environmental conditions into account during calculation.

Transformer load, ambient and transformer temperatures, oil temperature, and winding hot spot temperature are utilized by RTTR systems for transformers.

DTS optic sensing fibers are important for real-time thermal rating; they are installed along the length of the power cable and provide a continuous temperature profile.

If you would like to purchase DTS (Distributed Temperature System), please contact us: info@optromix.com or +1 617 558 98 58.

Dynamic Cable Rating

In recent years a lot of research has been done in order to increase the power flow of underground cables and to develop the equipment to effectively monitor the weather and thermal state of the cable by creating accurate thermal models. As a result of applying dynamic thermal rating technologies, the capacity is usually increased by 5 to 15%. Few factors determine the thermal rating of the underground, among them the soil temperature and thermal resistivity of the earth, and they change very slowly, don’t get affected much by weather and current loading.

The main challenge with underground installations is to accurately measure the maximum current value that can flow through the circuit breakers.

The current capacity carried in specific cable circuit breakers depends on certain aspects, such as cable construction, the soil, the temperature, and the sheath-bonding method. Only the soil properties are variable, and the others are constant.

The soil is affected by the weather change in different seasons and the cable heating, hence the current carrying capacity changes drastically. Dynamic current rating of a cable circuit is a crucial factor in order to utilize it in the full capacity all year round; because it is always the biggest challenge for power operators to choose the right power load for the underground cable.

That is why monitoring thermal conditions of the buried cable circuits and installed distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems is crucial.

A real-time operating system is created to capture different load current parameters, cable surface, and soil temperatures to provide input to the real-time operating system. The data about current and temperature is passed to a computer through the fiber optic connection. The computer gathers load and temperature data and provides an updated ampacity rating.

Once the dynamic current rating data is received, it has to be analyzed within a set period of time. The results are usually used to develop risk management strategies. There are certain challenges when calculating line ampacity, such as conductor properties and atmospheric conditions, which have to be considered. Each of these factors increases the level of uncertainty when determining ampacity.

RTTR – Real Time Thermal Rating System

A real-time thermal rating is a monitoring system. It helps to effectively use current-carrying capacity. Basically, it allows avoiding making assumptions about the current load, and instead to ensure that it is used in the most efficient way and the probability to exceed the acceptable temperature is low.

Smart grid technology, a real-time thermal rating system, has been created to rate the electrical conductors affected by the local weather conditions. It provides accurate real-time temperature measurements and current reading along the entire high-temperature wire. The RTTR is embedded in the cable and calculates the capacity of the current under specific conditions. It is a perfect solution to monitor power cable performing under abnormal conditions such as different emergencies, energy outages, etc.

RTTR is often used with the DTS system of temperature sensors because it gives more accurate data and allows monitoring operations in the real-time mode. For cables that have temperature sensors (DTS) embedded or touching it, the temperature is monitored continuously and the rating can be indicated accordingly. The cables without DTS have their operational temperature are calculated based on the real-time installation condition and loading. There are two types of RTTR to monitor power cable: self-contained and environmentally based.

Self-contained real-time temperature collects the data along with the entire circuits; the embedded fiber optic cable measures the internal temperature, and the attached one measures the sheath temperature.

Environmentally based RTTR measures soil temperature and its direct effect on the cable. It also measures soil thermal resistivity, which affects the heat exchange rate between the cable and the external environment.

RTTR usually uses the following parameters for the calculations:

  • The ground type (soil, clay, sand, gravel, thermal backfill)
  • Burial Depth
  • Cable Type
  • Cable Structure
  • Other cables laid in close proximity

Rating calculations of the high-temperature wire are based on the data derived from monitoring the underground cable. Standard static ratings are usually conservative and understate the real feeder capacity; hence the feeders are not loaded fully most of the time. The real-time thermal rating allows determining the times when the cable is not loaded fully and when certain actions need to be taken.