Nov 01 2010

Fiber Optic Scour Sensors

Published by at 4:30 pm 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:

One response so far

One Response to “Fiber Optic Scour Sensors”

  1. Garry McMullanon 03 Nov 2010 at 7:38 am

    We are seeing this as a client issue more and more. Good to see that a FO solution is being developed.