Distributed Sensing for Seismic Monitoring Systems

We have already published a range of articles referring to different applications of fiber optic technology in various industries and fields. Geophysics has also applied distributed sensing as a powerful instrument for structural health monitoring, such in, the oil and gas industry, tunnel safety monitoring, etc.

Seismic monitoring has been no exception. Resistance to electromagnetic disturbance, cost-effectiveness and possibility of implementing into hard-to-reach regions or places that can be harmful for human health are undeniable advantages of distributed sensing systems.Distributed Sensing for Seismic Monitoring Systems

What is Distributed Sensing Technology?

Distributed sensing is a technology that provides continuous measurements in real-time. Compared to traditional sensors, placed at certain points, distributed sensing acts as a sensing element along its entire length because the whole fiber optic cable is applied.

Due to the exploitation of the entire fiber optic cable all over its length, this method is considered to be one of the most cost-effective tools that can be placed in severe conditions.

Operation Principle of the Distributed Sensing Systems

In simpler terms, DAS systems as a part of the distributed sensing technology consist of several components including fiber optic cable and an attached optoelectronic device – FBG interrogator. The interrogator sends short pulses of the pulsed laser light into fiber optic cable. Then the backscattered light moves back up the fiber to the FBG interrogation unit. Due to the time that the laser pulse takes, there can be found the relation backscatter event and a fiber distance.

The FBG interrogator is connected to a processing unit that processes and stores the received data. This unit gets the raw data and transfers it into the information that is displayed in the program.

The software provides the visualized analysis that includes the previous data as well. In case there are any differences, fiber optic system alarms specialists. For instance, the system can display the location of the fiber optic cable on the map and highlight locations where the rates have changed or exceeded acceptable limits.

What’s the Difference Between DAS and DTS Systems?

Traditionally, distributed sensing systems are divided into distributed temperature sensing and distributed acoustic sensing.

The main difference between DTS and DAS systems is the type of signals they get to provide analysis. DTS systems are sensitive to temperature changes, while DAS is sensitive to acoustic vibrations. Therefore, their operation principle is also different. Due to the fiber qualities, the performance of DTS systems is able to stay at the necessary high injected pump power level. At the same time, DAS systems don’t require such high pump power as DTS systems because of the Rayleigh scattering.

DAS Systems and Their Applications in Seismic Monitoring

If we are talking about seismic monitoring, distributed acoustic sensing is used. DAS systems measure any vibrations that can’t be detected by DTS technology.

The goal of all seismic monitoring systems is warning before any accident occurs. Their effectiveness depends on the accuracy of the obtained data, lifetime and length. That’s why there is a necessity in a continuous operating system that is capable of working in severe environments and over long distances.

DAS systems were implemented as seismic monitoring systems due to the above-mentioned advantages as well as low cost, no special maintenance, robustness, etc. Therefore, distributed acoustic systems have provided new capabilities for seismic monitoring.

Field Projects Where Sensing Systems Were Applied

If we are talking about sensing systems, in most cases fiber optic sensors were more effective in comparison with the conventional electronic ones. That provides unrivaled performance, especially in critical applications.

For example, two years ago the specialists started a range of experiments in the Arctic and the Arctic Ocean. This is the first case when DAS systems were installed in the Arctic. Scientists wanted to get the analysis of the seafloor seismic activities and other processes under Arctic sea ice with a distributed acoustic sensing system. Fiber optic cable catches the vibrations about all the changes of the ocean 24/7.

The other project with DAS systems has also allowed scientists to see them in other severe environmental conditions. Since they are installed mostly in the ground, specialists have monitored their performance in snow. The most concerning parameters for them were the snow depth and severe frosts.

Finally, in the conditions of decreasing temperatures the reduction in background noise and better signal-to-noise ratio was noticed. In fact, the lower temperatures, the better results distributed acoustic sensing has provided. Cold temperatures don’t make fiber optic performance difficult or interfere with accuracy of the received data. Moreover, fiber optic cable is able to transfer signals at snow depths of at least 0.65m.

Distributed sensing as a tool for seismic monitoring systems has proved to be effective in detection of any seismic shocks and flow changes. All in all, DAS provides capabilities for seismic monitoring of the near surface.

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 Temperature Sensing Systems for Coal Mines

Distributed temperature sensing systems as well as fiber Bragg optic sensors are focused on the continuous monitoring of the constructions’ health condition and prevention of potential damages. The DTS system consists of a fiber optic cable, typically several kilometers long, that works as a temperature sensor. As a result, specialists can watch all dynamic temperature changes in a continuous temperature profile.DTS Systems for Coal Mines

DTS Systems as a Fire Detection Technology

In the mining industry, the risk of fires still remains very high. Conventional fire and heat alarm systems require constant and expensive maintenance and are not as effective as fiber optic monitoring systems. Thanks to modern DTS technology, both of these problems are now solved.

There are many forces in mines that can cause a fire. The possibility of fire is especially high in certain locations due to the complicating factors such as:

  • geological settings;
  • presence of the vehicles, heat-generating and mobile equipment;
  • conveyor failures;
  • lighting faults, etc.

Distributed temperature sensing systems have been proven to outperform standard fire detection systems in a range of aspects including efficiency and high level of safety.

The DTS system includes a single fiber optic cable and a DTS unit. The traditional system includes many components and devices. The distinction of DTS results in lower installation and maintenance costs due to less equipment, and in improved system reliability. Therefore, there is no need in its regular service that can be complicated because of the difficulty of access and huge size of the mine. Moreover, the conducted field projects have demonstrated that fiber optic sensors inform the operators about the heat significantly earlier than a fire starts.

All these advantages have made DTS technology one of the main methods for the detection of potential fires or other abnormal conditions.

Fiber Optic Sensors for Detection of Faulty Conveyor Belt Rollers

The conveyor belts are cost-effective instruments for continuous transporting of dry bulk materials over various distances. Due to the latest technologies, the accidents related to the problems with conveyor belts are relatively rare in modern underground coal mines. However, to this day there is a possibility of causing damage related to the conveyor belt accidents that can result in the interruption of the production process.

The reliability of the whole conveyor belt depends on the robustness of its separate components. Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) system helps to monitor the thermal conditions of each idler and detect the malfunctions. DTS systems use the latest advancements of fiber optic technology. They have proven to be a safe method of application in underground mines.

There are some aspects to consider when choosing the suitable monitoring system. Firstly, it is not easy to obtain data from a vast area. It requires the setting up of thousands of sensor elements. Secondly, the data transmission can be challenging due to the underground mine environment. Therefore, some types of equipment are prohibited for usage, such as electrical cables. Fiber optic monitoring systems have been able to solve a number of such issues that engineers usually face during underground mining.

The DTS system consists of a DTS unit and a fiber optic cable. The system measures temperature along the entire length of the cable and transmits the data to the operators who can detect any mechanical failures of the rolling components at an early stage. The specialists see real-time data of the conveyor structure and the surrounding area.

The specialists conducted a range of experiments to find the most effective placement of the fiber optic monitoring system. The problem is that fiber optic sensors can’t be located over the idlers because they will interrupt the operation. So they are attached to the frame of the idler, as close to the bearing as possible. This affects the results because fiber optic sensors take longer to capture the heat. However, they still have better results compared to the traditional methods.

Fiber Optic Sensing for Monitoring of Roof Activity

According to statistics, there are many causes that can lead to mine accidents including dust explosions, mine support deterioration, etc. However, the most common cause of the accidents that take place in underground coal mines is mine collapse.

Design and functioning of the underground mines creates a number of complicated factors for operation. The dynamism of mining operations and increasing depth can lead to the associated risks and jeopardize an acceptable level of safety. At the same time, there are always natural risks to the mine structures, such as seismic shocks which can also lead to roof stratum displacements.

Roof activity monitoring can be used for a variety of purposes, including structural health construction monitoring of the underground openings and design optimization. For the majority of projects, fiber optic monitoring systems are applied due to their ease of use in harsh environments compared to other conventional methods.

Fiber optic sensing monitoring is able to help in reduction of the mine roof displacement and thus avoid severe consequences. There are different types of fiber Bragg grating sensors that are used to monitor displacement, temperature or strain in underground openings or nearby them depending on the purposes. FBG sensors have proved to be reliable and accurate monitoring equipment of roof activities in underground coal mining. Modern fiber optic monitoring systems have made it possible to display all changes of the required parameters on the screen almost instantly and prevent any accidents in underground mines.

The conducted projects on the mining sites have demonstrated the benefits of fiber optic sensors. The fiber optic monitoring systems can detect the slight roof displacement during the progressive face advance. The received data is usually used for roadway support and design of the mine.

In conclusion, thanks to the latest state-of-the-art technologies nowadays there is an opportunity to monitor structural health constantly. That is why distributed temperature sensing systems are widely applied for structural health monitoring of different constructions including mines. The fiber optic sensing has found many spheres of applications due to the qualities it has.

Optromix is a DTS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed temperature sensing systems suitable for monitoring commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DTS system, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Dual Lasers in DTS Systems for Oil and Gas Wells

DTS systems provide the oil and gas and other industries with the new cutting-edge fiber optic solutions such as a groundbreaking dual laser technology which offers the most robust and the simplest distributed temperature sensing systems accessible to the industry. This technology also includes the ability of the automatic correction for dynamic changes to the sensing fiber.

What is Distributed Temperature Sensing?

Distributed temperature sensing, also known as DTS, is a technology that measures the temperature along the whole fiber optic cable in a continuous fashion. The fiber optic line can be any required length up to 30 km. The system includes the recording instrumentation at one or both ends of the cable. It can work permanently or from time to time for each use, depending on the requirements.Dual Lasers in Distributed Sensing Systems

Most Common DTS Applications

Distributed sensing systems have established themselves as an effective part of fiber optic technology. High temperatures are related to the severe environmental conditions which make operational processes difficult. However, fiber optic sensors can operate in such conditions greatly, especially, if we compare them with the electrical-based temperature sensors. That’s why fiber optic systems have found many applications, such as fire detection, healthcare, railways, etc.

DTS systems are installed on the electric power lines to monitor temperature changes. The temperature may indicate the electrical overload or other deviations from the norm in time. DTS technology allows power companies to exploit the assets more effectively.

With the help of constant monitoring, it is easy to react immediately to the temperature rising. When this rising is above a predefined threshold, the alarm sets off. The early detection and warning lead to reduction of the damage that failures may cause.

DTS Applications in the Oil and Gas Industry

Fiber optic technology has been used in the oil and gas industry for over the last 25 years. Fiber optic systems were installed in various types of oil wells starting from land wells and ending with offshore wells. Fiber optic technology allows watching down hole casing deformation or changes in sand screen completions.

Thanks to its operational principles, distributed temperature sensing offers critical asset monitoring solutions that can be applied for oil and gas companies. DTS systems immediately provide the actual and accurate information about temperature with high resolution and high speed. Fiber optic cable provides specialists with the numerous measurement readings along the whole optical fiber. This feature helps companies in detecting leaks along the pipelines, whether along its length or anywhere on the cross-section. The faster the leaks are found, the less damage can be. It means considerable cost savings for companies. Moreover, DTS technology helps in identifying under-performing zones, optimizing gas lift operations, etc.

Distributed temperature sensing has been applied safely to follow up pressure or reactor vessels. Depending on the required set-ups, the temperature measurements can be held as frequently as every 30 seconds. Any changes in temperature may point out some problems that have occurred. So the increasing temperature of the vessel wall usually predicts the system or the process failure.

Dual Lasers in DTS Systems

Each year, specialists implement DTS systems more often to make the efficiency of production better. The integration of the dual lasers into such systems is a new technology, aiming at the life extension of optical fibers and solving the most appearing concerns. The most common issues that optical fibers face are fiber darkening or their damage.

The fiber darkening can misrepresent the statements and lead to the failure of the DTS system. It occurs where there are high pressure and high temperature environments that are usual for oil wells. The darkening happens unevenly and is progressive over time that makes the manual calibration techniques ineffective. Moreover, different connectors on the fiber can result in various degrees of optical loss. Two lasers operate at different wavelengths, so there is an automated adjusting system for any changes in optical loss in the fiber. They immediately react and correct these effects which allows the further use without re-installation of the whole system from the very beginning.

Such fiber optic systems help in cost-reducing by avoiding the re-deployment of the equipment. Despite the other systems, they don’t need the manual calibration techniques, but operate automatically all over the length. The manual calibration usually requires repeated recalibration efforts.

Newly developed DTS systems with dual lasers offer great advantages especially where there is no or limited access to the optical fiber. They help to extend the lifetime of the fiber and ease fiber optic systems’ deployment.

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 Temperature Sensing at shallow depths

Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) is a state-of-the-art tool that possess an ability to monitor temperature rates over large territory and across wide temporal scales. This fiber optic technology has proved to be effective in different spheres and industries. However, despite the long field experience story, it still has its limitations and challenges apart from all the advantages. For example, when we talk about its application at shallow or deep depths.

DTS at shallow depths

The main difficulties in Distributed Temperature Sensing application

Despite all the progress that was achieved during this decade, distributed temperature sensing still meets some challenges. For example, when applied to the ocean, since dynamic oceanographic processes have a wide range of parameters, ranging from various types of turbulence to different climates, all data obtained from DTS systems fully help in understanding the dynamics of a complex ocean. However, different constraints can make modifications in time scales creating restrictions. Furthermore, there is a need for many additional advanced equipment for broad spatial resolution. That’s why it’s still complicated to use DTS in oceanography. However, now there are cases when distributed temperature sensing (DTS) is applied, for instance, in the Atlantic.

Recently, the scientists announced the first experiments on the seafloor of the Arctic sea ice with the help of the distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) system. This research has shown that fiber optic technology is effective, despite all the difficulties the scientists have faced due to the harsh environment. The system recorded a range of events that commonly applied equipment couldn’t even detect. Moreover, the DAS technology has detected the icequakes, various climate signals, and marine life.

From the other side, DTS systems can be applied in measuring surface water temperature spatial variability in lakes and rivers. The received data helps in the assessment of different factors such as estimating fish habitat and thermal inertia, the interaction between surface water and groundwater, etc. Usually, distributed temperature sensing is successfully applied in rivers and lakes with sensitive and high-resolution temperature monitoring under the wide temporal and spatial scales. Nevertheless, difficulties may arise in streams with cobbly or bedrock-lined streambeds. To avoid all the challenges, more expensive additional technologies are needed.

There are other factors that should be ensured like sensitive equipment needs protection and continuous power to work. Besides, optical fibers are delicate, they shouldn’t be bent or crimped.

How the Distributed sensing system works

Distributed sensing systems are appealing because they are able to continuously sample preserving while maintaining relatively high temporal and spatial resolution. Moreover, the accuracy indicators stay the same over a vast territory.

Distributed temperature sensors measurement allows to constantly observe temperature changes along the fiber optic cable. In this fiber optic technology the whole cable plays the role of the sensing element that measures temperature. It differs this method from the usual electrical temperature measurement. Moreover, the distributed temperature sensing is regarded as the most cost-effective and efficient system among the modern temperature measurement technologies.

The main operation principles of measurement are built on detecting the back-scattering of light:

        1. The first type is an optical fiber that uses Raman scattering. This approach was invented in the United Kingdom. Optical fibers are usually made from doped quartz glass. When the light falls on the excited molecular oscillations, the electrons of the molecule and the electrons of the molecule start interaction. This process is called Raman scattering and results in scattered light.
        2. The second method is the Brillouin scattering-based approach. It was mostly developed in the 1990s. It refers to the scattering of a light wave by an acoustic wave because of the interaction with the acoustic phonons. Thanks to the ability of the Brillouin scattering of making both frequency down- and up-shifted light, this method can be applied whether for distributed temperature or strain sensing. It can contain both, but they can’t work at the same time.
        3. The third technique is named Rayleigh back-scattering. This is the latest development. As well as for the previously developed distributed sensors, a usual optical fiber can be used as the sensor. It allows the entire cable to be used as a single sensor, without purchasing expensive individual sensors. Scientists applied this technique, for example, for measuring distributed temperature in a nuclear reactor.

If we compare all these three techniques, each of them has its pros and cons. According to the scientists, the Rayleigh scattering demonstrates the highest rates in comparison with other types. However, it has limits in a range of fiber length. This factor is crucial for long lengths of cables’ monitoring. For this characteristic, the Brillouin scattering shows the best results. Besides, it has temperature sensitivity and good measurement time. Moreover, Brillouin scattering allows to detect distributed strain, unlike the other two methods. But usually it is applied either for distributed temperature measurement or strain. According to the data, Brillouin scattering is more often used as a substitute for Raman scattering.

DTS systems in field experiments

In accordance with the final field experiments, despite all the challenges, temperature measurements with the help of the DTS systems have been performed successfully in various environments including rivers, lakes, seas, etc. The fiber Bragg grating sensors have been applied both in fresh and sea water and demonstrated good results. Furthermore, it refers to simultaneous measurement of temperature and depth which has been impossible for previous fiber sensors.

Modern fiber optic sensors provide the parallel measurements of temperature and pressure at the same place. Besides, in comparison with other methods, fiber optic technology provides much lower power consumption. It allows the DTS systems to work longer and makes longer experiments and observation possible.

The developed fiber optic technology can be used for measurements and monitoring of the physical parameters. Moreover, it is well-placed for many cases and can be applied to various applications, such as wave and tide gauges, tsunami warning systems, etc.

All in all, we can say that distributed temperature sensing (DTS) can be successfully applied in various cases at shallow depths due to their diversity. The system can be designed and installed in accordance with the existing conditions and parameters in every single case.

Optromix is a DTS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed temperature sensing systems suitable for monitoring commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DTS system, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber Optic Sensing Systems for Oil and Gas Wells

Fiber optic sensing systems can greatly assist in the exploitation of oil and gas resources. During the downhole processing, technicians can face a variety of technical challenges resulting from difficult environmental conditions. Wellbore structural health monitoring is a substantial system that provides the profitability and reliability of these fields.

Fiber Bragg grating sensors have replaced traditional electronic sensors for reservoir monitoring and downhole production. In-well sensors are applied for measuring a range of parameters such as flow rate, pressure, temperature, fraction, seismic response, etc. Fiber Bragg gratings have proven themselves as reliable and accurate technology that can be applied in multilateral wells. These systems are installed in different operating environments all over the world.Fiber Optic Sensing Systems for Oil and Gas Wells

Distributed Fiber Optic Monitoring Systems’ Elements

Thanks to all the benefits, including a wide range of working temperatures and pressures, immunity to electromagnetic interference, and the possibility of usage in an adverse environment, fiber optic solutions have found many applications.

Any fiber optic sensing system consists of three components:

  • Fiber optic cable is suited to measure some physical effects with high absolute and local accuracy. Usually, cables are produced in such a way that the scattering effects are minimized. That allows maximizing transmission distance and data rate.
  • Analyzer or control panel is connected to the fiber optic cable and is designed to capture and collect data.
  • The final step is the interpretation and analysis of the whole received sensor data with the usage of the software. The software allows users to visualize strain or temperature data from the system.

The Most Common Fiber Optic Sensing Systems

There are two main types of fiber optic sensing systems: distributed acoustic sensing systems and distributed temperature sensing systems. Both of them have proven to be the most cost-effective and reliable fiber optic solutions and found their applications, including in the oil and gas industry. The main advantage of these systems is the ability to measure at each position where the fiber optic cable is installed.

Distributed Acoustic Sensing

DAS systems are optoelectronic instruments based on fiber optic technology that measures acoustic interactions all over a fiber optic cable. In DAS there is also an attached optoelectronic device that processes all the data from the cable. This technique allows acoustic frequency strain signals to be detected in harsh environmental conditions and over large distances. The sensing fiber is usually built on single-mode fiber. However, multimode sensing fibers can be also applied in some customized applications.

Distributed Temperature Sensing

DTS systems are optoelectronic instruments based on fiber optic technology that measures temperature all over a fiber optic cable. One of its advantages is providing continuous temperature information along the whole sensing cable. Moreover, specialists can predetermine the discrete sensing points for the most accurate data.

Nowadays, scientists are working in other directions. Since the invention of fiber optic technology, significant improvements have been made in both technologies and sensors. But for now, it is complicated to project a system that would combine DAS and DTS systems with the same optical fiber because of the different operation principles.

Optromix is a DTS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed temperature sensing systems suitable for monitoring commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DTS system, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber Optic Technology as pipeline leak detection method

Fiber Optic Technology for the pipeline leak detectionSpecial fiber optic technology can make fiber optic cable a sensing one. That solves many challenges including monitoring long units like pipelines, tunnels, or power cables. With the help of fiber optic sensors, it is more likely to find the leak in a short time. FBG interrogator sends a laser pulse through the fiber optic cable and the light comes back to the interrogator. The back scattered light delivers back acoustic, vibration, and thermal data.

Distributed sensing is widely used as an external pipeline leak detection method. Distributed sensing systems easily detect changes in temperature, noise, or vibration. Distributed sensing helps in detecting internal events, for example, liquid accumulations in gas pipelines, slugs, and flow constrictions.

Nowadays, distributed sensing pipeline leak detection software includes a wide variety of pipeline applications. The systems that apply distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) or distributed temperature sensing (DTS) are already produced in many projects across tens of thousands of kilometers of pipelines. Therefore distributed sensing systems already proved to be the most cost-effective in leak detecting.

There are standard fiber optic cables with suitable distributed sensing systems compatible with single-mode and multi-mode fibers or with a combination of them. According to the scientists, fiber optic cables with the usage of single-mode fibers are suitable for both DAS and DTS. While fiber optic cables using multi-mode fibers could enhance the DTS systems’ performance. Distributed sensing systems emphasize the detection of thermal and acoustic leak signatures. That’s why there are different types of DAS and DTS systems according to their thermal, acoustic detection capabilities, and performance requirements.

For example, a research team from South Africa is currently applying fiber optic solutions for the detection of leaks in pipelines. Scientists investigated leak detection using fiber Bragg gratings. These were applied to measure strains and temperature on pipelines and in the ground adjacent to pipelines. With the help of fiber optic technology, they could detect water leaks by burying a fiber optic cable into a pipe trench with a new pipe or place it above an existing pipe.

The scientists hope that after a number of experiments they could implement distributed sensing systems in South Africa by monitoring the pipes and delivering the data about water leaks into a leakage detection center. So fiber optic solutions would give an opportunity to fix the leak quickly without losing massive volumes of water. According to them, fiber optic technology shows great promise as a highly effective leak detection system.

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

Why DTS systems are beneficial to pipelines

DTS for pipelinesAlmost all pipelines suffer from numerous leaks during their operation, therefore, they require systems for fiber optic pipeline leak detection. Despite the fact that there are various techniques for leak detection, distributed temperature sensing systems (DTS) are considered to be an ideal option for the purpose.

Distributed temperature sensing is a technique that has been applied for more than two decades. DTS systems are regarded as the best option when a leak leads to a temperature differential between the ambient air and the escaping liquid or gas. The thing is that “temperature differentials generally occur when the pipeline product is at high pressure, high temperature or low temperature, all relative to ambient, which is characteristic of numerous pipelines.”

The operating principle of DTS is based on fiber optic sensing systems that operate as a sensor and measure temperatures along the entire length of optical fibers. Herewith, the optical fiber is put along the outside of the pipeline within the protective coating. It should be noted that the accurate installation location depends on the relative area(s) of the anticipated temperature differential caused by a leak, and on other reasons such as available mounting space.

To be more precise, DTS systems allow fastly identifying and precisely locating slow leaks at weld points, pipeline fittings, and herewith, sudden leaks. Fiber optic pipeline leak detection system enables detecting the precise location of leaks, often overcoming other distributed sensing technology. The fact is that even a tiny leak leads to a crucial temperature change, one that can be recorded by the DTS system.  Most DTS measures temperatures with a precision of a few degrees, more than sufficient for leak detection.

For instance, a modern leading distributed temperature sensing technology allows measuring temperatures at a distance of 6 km, totaling 6000 points of measurement. The fiber optic sensing system’s transceiver measures “temperatures for 6 km both upstream and downstream of its installation point, for a total coverage of 12 km per each transceiver.” It is possible to employ several transceivers with accompanying fiber optic cables to offer coverage for long pipelines, totaling hundreds or thousands of kilometers in distance.

DTS technology acts as a semi-automatic leak detection system, obtaining data information to enable operators to take action before automation and/or safety system activation. It should be mentioned that a semi-automatic system means that the leak detection occurs automatically, resulting in an alarm signal in a continuously staffed control room. 

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 temperature measurement systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com

DTS performs dam monitoring

DTS for dam monitoringDams applied for hydropower, irrigation or mining play a crucial role in human life, herewith, they evoke significant human, economic, and environmental consequences when they fail. Nevertheless, distributed fiber optic sensing increases dam safety by offering early alerts of potential problems.

To be more precise, modern distributed sensing systems are considered to have high accuracy for monitoring promoting a continuous understanding of dam conditions, taking dam safety to a higher level. For instance,  distributed temperature sensing (DTS technology) uses high spatial resolution temperature data from distributed temperature sensors to record tiny seepage flow changes and to estimate seepage rates in a dam structure. 

It should be noted that seepage happens in most embankment and earth dams as the impounded water looks for the path of least resistance through the dam and its foundations. Therefore, excessive seepage presents a threat while high-tech sensing systems enable to detect and analyze subsurface processes and prevent erosion. Distributed fiber optic sensing is a promising technology that can be employed to control critical geophysical parameters, for instance, temperature and strain with a sub-meter resolution over several km. 

Additionally, distributed sensing systems provide the benefits of cost-effective high spatial monitoring coverage. The thing is that optical fiber acts as the sensing system along the full length of the fiber optic cable allowing operators to obtain detailed data information along the entire dam. Distributed temperature sensors can catch tiny, localized changes in the seepage flow rates that would otherwise remain unnoticed. “They deliver temperature readings with the accuracy of point sensors with the indisputable benefit of fiber optics: the highest possible spatial coverage. ”

Moreover, the distributed temperature sensing does not need specialized optical fibers resulting in relatively low-cost installation. The thing is that measurements based on DTS systems provide data along the entire dam with high spatial resolution and high-temperature precision. Herewith, distributed temperature sensors have already been used in tailings dams. One of the main elements of the increasing number of permanent tools is the ever-increasing performance of the DTS systems. Modern fiber optic sensing systems achieve the world’s most accurate measurements, with sampling resolutions of 12cm (over 5km) and with temperature resolution as low as 0.01 C.  

Finally, seepage detection used distributed temperature sensing is regarded as a crucial technology and has prominently improved the monitoring capabilities of dam operators. The application of optical fiber networks provides additional benefits like the ability of distributed sensing systems develops further.

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 temperature measurement systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com