about Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG), FBG Sensors and Monitoring Systems

DTS performs dam monitoring

on April 13, 2020

dam-929406_640Dams 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

editorDTS performs dam monitoring

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