Archive for the 'Sensors' Category

Nov 01 2010

Fiber Optic Scour Sensors

Published by under General,OS Technology,Sensors

Fiber optic sensing has come a long way in the past decade. What were once university prototype instruments and sensors are now well qualified, commercial products. Much credit for this progress is due to a few pioneers who led the way, and one of those pioneers is Dr. Farhad Ansari of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted one of Dr. Ansari’s applications. (See article) In this application, Ansari and his team installed an array of FBG scour sensors on a bridge at risk of damage from undermined foundations. If this application proves successful, these scour sensors will provide an important new tool for departments of transportation around the world. Thousands of bridges are at risk from scour, and there are few practical means for monitoring scour and its effects. For more on this scour sensor and how to access this technology, contact:

Mark P. Krivchenia
Technology Manager
University of Illinois at Chicago
Office of Technology Management
at krivchen[at]uic[dot]edu

Instruments at Salt Creek Bridge

Because these sensors are based on fiber optics, they can survive decades in this harsh environment. Also, because fiber optic sensing systems are so versatile, other FO sensors (e.g., strain, acceleration, temperature) can be added later without adding to the FO instrumentation.

Ansari’s work at UIC, as president of the International Society for Structural Helath Monitoring of Intelligent Infratructure, and as the founder of Structural Monitoring Services focuses on a central theme: advancement of measurement and analysis tools and their practical application in the field. Rather than maximizing the numbers of sensors on a structure, Dr. Ansari focuses on finding optimal numbers and types of sensors to deliver the data streams necessary — and no more. This keeps the data analysis work manageable and ensures that the structure’s owner gets actionable information.

For more on Dr. Ansari and his work, go to:

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Oct 29 2010

Micron Optics Releases Fiber Optic Temperature Sensing Cable

Published by under General,OS Technology,Sensors

Yesterday, Micron Optics announced the release of the os4400, a fiber optic temperature sensing cable. This cable addresses a growing need for durable, low-cost temperature sensing in areas with limited access, such as tunnels, bridges, mines, downhole and other applications where distributed measurements are needed at specific points over long distances. You can read the full press release here.

Micron Optics os4400 temperature sensing cables are available immediately. For more information, please go to our sensors page on our website or contact us directly at info(at)micronoptics(dot)com.

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Sep 21 2010

FBG Sensors Embedded in Pavement

Published by under OS Technology,Sensors

A few years ago, Micron Optics responded to a request from the FAA to create a fiber optic (FO) version of an embedded strain sensor for asphalt pavement. They were looking for a sensor that reduces cabling runs and is not susceptible to interference from lightening or other electrical noise.

The standard asphalt strain sensor at the time was an 8-inch long H-Bar gage based on electrical resistance foil strain gages. Micron Optics modified its os3600 gage to mimic the traditional gage and worked with the FAA to install two such gages and two FBG temperature sensors.

The results were interesting. The FO gages measured strains side-by-side with the electrical resistance H-Bar gages. The FO strain measurements tracked the expected values, and they exhibited no noise in the measured signal. (Noise was an ever present problem with the electronic gages.) After a few passes of the paver, one of the fibers was broken and two of the four sensors were lost. The quick prototype did not go far enough to protect the fiber, but still the fundamental performance was promising.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago- Applied Geomechanics (AGI), a key Micron Optics integrator with both FO experience and a long history with (and provider for) the standard H-Bar strain gages, installed several types of FO gages in another FAA test. Results were very good. The new FO sensor design allowed for placement in between layers of hot mix asphalt during construction as well as surface embedment in both asphalt and concrete surfaces. All sensors survived installation compaction and rolling and were immediately used for data collection.

The bottom line is that AGI will be moving forward with their customers in using FO gages for long term pavement studies for roads, bridge decks and runways. Read the full case study “Fiber Optic Sensing Solutions for the FAA Case Study” on AGI’s website.

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Aug 06 2010

FBG Sensors during Indoor Lightning Storm

Published by under General,OS Technology,Sensors

NI Week is National Instruments’ annual worldwide conference on measurement and automation. In this forum, NI announces its most exciting new products. In this year’s keynote, NI announced in spectacular fashion their first FBG interrogator instrument — the PXIe-4844.

This new interrogator is a result of a deep engineering collaboration between Micron Optics and NI. It combines several important technologies and capabilities:

1) Micron Optics’ world leading swept laser optical sensor interrogation technology
2) Micron Optics’ patented, NIST traceable wavelength calibration technology
3) NI’s rugged and versatile PXI Express instrumentation platform
4) NI-OSI Explorer for configuration and NI-OSI LabVIEW Driver Software for application development in NI LabVIEW
5) NI’s worldwide sales, marketing and support organization to promote FOS solutions

NI and Micron Optics share a similar vision for FOS applications. That is, the unique advantages of fiber sensors will complement, and in some cases will work side by side with, conventional electrical based sensors. Broader availability and awareness of FOS interrogators and sensors surely help engineers and scientists solve measurement problems that may have been unsolvable until now.

Of course we’re pleased that NI chose Micron Optics to design and build the core of their interrogator, but perhaps it’s even more important that this large, well respected and influential company is investing in introducing FOS to thousands of new users. We think that all users, manufacturers, and sellers of FOS technologies will benefit by NI’s bold entry into this technology.

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