FBG accelerometers for railway structural health monitoring

FBG accelerometers for railway monitoringNew improved accelerometers based on fiber Bragg grating or FBG technology by fiber optic sensors allow performing railway structural health monitoring in both frequency and acceleration range. Such FBG accelerometers provide such advantage as immunity to electromagnetic interference, herewith, the fiber accelerometer offers multiplexed data information along very long lengths of a railway or pipeline for the in situ single-headend measurements of such parameters as vibration, strain, temperature, and fault locations or other challenges.

Thus, distributed sensors based on fiber optic technology are considered to be a better sensing device for structural health monitoring, compared to other sensing systems. It should be noted that FBG accelerometer systems are able to perform “perimeter security and other applications where events span frequencies <700 Hz and acceleration shock values of <30 G with sensitivities of about 16 pm/G” among various fiber optic sensing systems.

Nevertheless, the application in railway structural health monitoring requires optical fiber sensors that offer a higher level of acceleration peak value and broader frequency ranges. The developed optical fiber accelerometer offers the following parameters: >40 G acceleration values, 8 pm/G sensitivity for frequency values up to 1 kHz and the device is operable up to 2.5 kHz. The developed fiber optic sensor was already tested in a railway application and demonstrated successful results.

Additionally, it is possible to change the optical fiber cross-section to make the stress-induced measurement optimized, depending on the required parameters. For example, this FBG accelerometer has a commercially available length (about 0.35 m), a 15 mm diameter,  50/50 splitter (3 dB coupler), a 56 g stainless-steel mass (25 mm diameter, 15 mm height).

The principle of FBG accelerometer operation is based on the lateral forces cause birefringence changes that directly correlate with force parameters, such as vibration. Therefore, the FBG accelerometer installed on a moving train enables to monitor of the reflection spectrum in real-time to determine various problems with the track of a railway such as cracks, corrugations, or weak points. 

Finally, the developed microstructured optical fiber used in new types of FBG accelerometers increases the level of measurement sensitivity of available systems up to 5X, and it is planned to apply the optical fiber to manufacture additional FBG accelerometers for field tests. Herewith, the FBG accelerometer is regarded as a highly important sensing device in an all-optical fiber sensing network that offers a great amount of data information resulting in efficient structural health monitoring of railways.

Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for the clients. Optromix produces a wide range of fiber optic devices, including cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Moreover, Optromix 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

FBG accelerometers measure acceleration and vibration on trains

FBG accelerometers for train monitoringNowadays train accidents often cause severe injuries and even cases of death. Nevertheless, researchers from China have designed new fiber optic sensors that allow measuring acceleration and vibration characteristics on trains. Additionally, this optical fiber technology can be used in a combination with artificial intelligence in order to prevent potential railway accidents and catastrophic train derailments.

To be more precise, the FBG accelerometers are able to monitor problems in the railway track or the train in real-time to detect defects before an accident happens. Such fiber optic devices identify frequencies more than double that of conventional optical fiber accelerometers, making them ideal for monitoring wheel-rail interactions. 

The principle of durable FBG sensors’ operation is based on the use of no moving parts, herein, the fiber accelerometers demonstrate good operation in the noisy as well as in high-voltage environmental conditions found in the railway field of application. Moreover, the researchers confirm that their novel FBG accelerometers can be applied in other vibration monitoring applications. For example, fiber optic applications include structural health monitoring for buildings and bridges and vibration measurements of aircraft wings.

It should be noted that the researchers have been developing condition-monitoring optical fiber systems for more than 15 years using an all-optical sensing network to continuously monitor crucial railway components. It is planned that these fiber optic sensing systems help change poor efficient traditional railway maintenance routines by predictive maintenance based on actual conditions. 

The developed FBG accelerometers demonstrate the following benefits that include:

  • immunity to electromagnetic interference;
  • long transmission distance;
  • no need for electricity.

But a need for FBG sensors for the measurement of various characteristics in railway systems still remain. Traditionally, fiber accelerometers are based on fiber Bragg gratings whose use is limited by 500 Hz vibrations. Therefore, such fiber optic technology was not suitable for the measurement of the wheel-rail interactions that are considered to be an important source of track wear.

Finally, the researchers have developed totally new FBG accelerometer based on a specific optical fiber (a polarization-maintaining photonic crystal fiber). It has been tested by installing the optical fiber device on an in-service train. Thus, the FBG accelerometer demonstrates a similar operation to the piezoelectric accelerometer, but it does not require expensive shielded fiber cables to take the effects of electromagnetic interference down.

If you want to obtain a highly efficient sensing system, you should choose the Optromix company. Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber-optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) products line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) systems, distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems. If you are interested in FBG sensors and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber Bragg grating sensors for bolt force status monitoring

Over the past decades, bolts support has become a widely used method of roadway roof failure control due to the easy construction and its efficient reinforcement. Moreover, bolts support improve surrounding rock structure stability. Underground coal mining has been extending to deeper levels where high-stress conditions are present; high stress causes roof subsidence and floor heaving in coal mine roadways. This can have a negative effect on the safety of the miners and construction integrity. Therefore, real-time monitoring of bolts in coal mine roadways is vital for the long-term safety and stability of the surrounding rock structures.

The systems that are used currently for real-time status monitoring of the bolts support structures are easily affected by the harsh environments and high levels of stress. Fiber Bragg grating sensing technology provides a new and effective way of real-time measurements. FBG sensors have become one of the most promising optical fiber passive device applications. Fiber Bragg grating sensors have a variety of applications and are widely used for temperature sensing (FBG temperature sensors), pressure sensing (FBG pressure sensors), acceleration sensing (FBG accelerometers), deformation sensing (FBG displacement sensors), etc.

FBG sensors have multiple advantages over traditionally used measurement equipment: FBG sensors are immune to electromagnetic interference, have a strong multiplexing ability, high reliability, and sensitivity. Fiber Bragg grating sensing technology is already used in a variety of applications, like geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, civil engineering, tunnel construction engineering.

The use of FBG sensors in engineering applications shows that fiber optic sensors can automatically acquire, and monitoring results are of great significance in roadway anchorage engineering safety and bolt support quality evaluation.

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.

If you are interested in Optromix FBG sensors, please contact us at info@optromix.com


Fiber Optic Sensors for Vibration Monitoring

Vibration is a common phenomenon in nature and vibration monitoring technology is of significant importance in scientific measurements and engineering applications. Accurate measurement and monitoring of vibration are crucial for the detection of the abnormal events and pre-warning of infrastructure damage. Traditional vibration sensors suffer from electromagnetic (EM) interference, which presents the difficulty for applications in harsh environments. In addition, the short monitoring distance and high maintenance cost mean they do not meet the actual needs of modern engineering measurements.

Optical fibers have attracted a significant amount of research attention in a wide range of applications during the last several decades due to the outstanding advantages of lightweight, flexible length, high accuracy, signal transmission security, easy installation, corrosion resistance, and immunity to EM interference. These characteristics render them attractive for use in harsh environments where the application of traditional sensors is severely limited. The high sensitivity to changes in external physical quantities, such as temperature, strain, and vibration, makes optical fibers suitable for sensing purposes. Up to now, fiber-optic vibration sensors mainly consist of the point, quasi-distributed, and distributed sensors. Several schemes of point sensors including fiber Bragg grating (FBG), Fabry–Perot, self-mixing, and Doppler vibrometry are deployed for vibration measurement. Among them, FBG vibration sensors have become a fast-developing scientific research field owing to intrinsic advantages such as low noise, good embeddability, and the ability to be easily multiplexed to construct a distributed sensor array. Based on the FBG sensing principle, many investigations are applied to the measurement of vibration. Distributed fiber optic vibration sensing technology is able to provide fully distributed vibration information along with the entire fiber link, and thus external vibration signals from an arbitrary point can be detected and located. Compared with point and quasi-distributed vibration sensors, which can only be used individually on a small scale and often have poor concealment, distributed fiber-optic vibration sensors inherit the advantages of general fiber sensors and offer clear advantages such as lightweight, large-scale monitoring, good concealment, excellent flexibility, geometric versatility of optical fibers, quick response, system simplicity, immunity to EM interference, high sensitivity, accurate location, etc. Distributed fiber-optic vibration sensors mainly include interferometric sensors and backscattering-based sensors. Various interferometric sensors have attracted a significant amount of research attention and are widely investigated.

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