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Fiber Bragg grating sensors provide groundwater flow sensing

on April 15, 2019

Groundwater flow sensing is highly important when it comes to the extraction of drinking water because it allows for avoiding well clogging and pollution. Nevertheless, fiber Bragg grating sensors with optical fibers are considered to be a promising new technique for monitoring of groundwater flow.

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The fact is that FBG sensors enable to identify even tiny changes in temperature, pressure, and fiber shape taking into account the sensitivities influenced by the packaging. Thus, fiber Bragg grating sensors are able to create a multiplexed sensor for the groundwater flow direction and magnitude.

It should be mentioned that the fiber-optic technology of FBG sensors has numerous application range, for example, in aerospace (load monitoring and shape sensing), in civil engineering (structural health monitoring), and in the oil and gas industry (temperature and pressure monitoring).

Today the technology of fiber Bragg grating sensing is also used for groundwater flow monitoring. FBG sensors allow measuring various physical properties, strain or temperature variations such as pressure, vibrations, and curvature of the optical fiber, herewith, fiber sensors make instant and precise measurements.

One more technique that can be used for monitoring is distributed temperature sensing, and the intended application influences directly the choice of technology – fiber Bragg grating or DTS sensing. DTS uses conventional single-mode or multimode fibers that find various application in the telecom industry, that is why DTS fibers are available in large lengths.

Moreover, the FBG sensors are possible to be written in traditional and specialty fiber optics, and consequently, their price increases per sensor number. However, the cost of fiber interrogators that are required for the DTS sensing data collection is five times more expensive than FBG units.

Traditional fiber Bragg grating sensors already possess a sufficient temperature resolution for the measurement of groundwater temperature changes without additional packaging. In addition, this FBG system has been recently tested to demonstrate its benefits for groundwater flow monitoring.

Thus, the experiment has shown that the use of FBG sensors enables to measure the relative temperature with a precision of 0.85 ℃ for the differential measurements. Also, the used fiber Bragg grating system is able to make a multiple-sensor interrogation with the possibility of an expansion into a larger distributed sensing network.

Finally, the data results presented that fiber Bragg grating sensors can be employed as a temperature sensing system in the subsurface environment, but in this case, they did not demonstrate any benefits over the existing fiber sensing technologies. Nevertheless, multiplexed fiber Bragg grating pressure or strain sensors would possibly find their application in groundwater flow monitoring.

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. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in FBG sensors and want to learn more, please contact us at

editorFiber Bragg grating sensors provide groundwater flow sensing

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