Oct 27 2010

Thompson Bridge in Fermanaugh

Published by at 12:49 pm under General,Instruments,OS Technology

Micron Optics produces the most reliable, capable and widely used FO instruments, sensors, and software in the world, but it’s our integrator partners who make so many successful applications possible. One good example is Sengenia, Ltd. in Northern Ireland. They’ve highlighted a recent application in their newsletter (see excerpt below) that involved embedding a network of FBG strain gages in a bridge deck and measuring them with a Micron Optics sm125 instrument.

These sensors were needed to evaluate the performance of a new “RockBar” reinforcement material for concrete decks. In quotes from the bridge owner, it was clear that Sengenia’s expertise and Micron Optics ENLIGHT software made the process of both installing the sensors and extracting and analyzing the data fast and simple.

Through their efforts, Sengenia has demonstrated to yet another group of engineers the power of fiber optic sensing technology. Successes like this one will lead to more applications, better methods, a greater variety of sensors, and a more widespread understanding for how FO sensors can enhance and improve upon traditional structural analysis and inspection practices.

For more information about Sengenia’s capabilities, and to subscribe to their newsletter, visit their website at http://www.sengenia.com.

Excerpted from Sengenia’s newsletter:
It is known that every year millions of pounds are spent, in the UK alone, on the repair and rehabilitation of concrete infrastructure. A large proportion of this is due to the corrosion of the reinforcing steel that is used and now with the introduction of fibre bars, such as those provided by MagmaTech , it is hoped that such financial waste can be prevented.

Thompson’s bridge is a replacement bridge to carry the two-way, A class road in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The previous bridge was a pinch point and not suitable for the wide loaded vehicles that frequently use this stretch of road. The bridge is a single span, consisting of reinforced concrete abutments on piled foundations. The superstructure comprises of ‘W’ precast pre-stressed beams with a reinforced concrete slab bridge deck reinforced with RockBar.

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), through Dr Su Taylor, were tasked with providing much of the specification details for the bridge and Sengenia worked alongside QUB for the load testing aspect of the project. Sengenia were able to use their fibre optic sensors, taking advantage of the ability to create more than one sensor along the length of a single strand of fibre, thereby reducing the cabling and therefore installation time and effort normally required. When used in tandem with the Micron Optics sm125-500 unit and Enlight software the monitoring process becomes a simplistic one, especially when taken in direct comparison with the alternative methods that were also in use through QUB.

Ben Williams, MD of MagmaTech commented ‘I was very interested to see the use of the fibre sensors actually in the field. The system used to acquire and display the data was remarkably simple to comprehend but yet clearly a highly sophisticated and powerful tool in such work. At MagmaTech we intend to pursue this further with Sengenia, looking always at how we can enhance the offering to our customers as well.’

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