Thursday, 20 December 2012

"Central nervous system!"

A new smaller diameter optical sensing fibre of only 80µm, for intrinsic sensing within composite materials and textiles

The ability to embed sensors within a material gives engineers scope to measure intrinsic strain of components during their production, or use under varying load conditions. To build a sensor network within a component or structure like a human central nervous system, makes it possible to measure loads at almost any position or environment. This makes certain demands on the sensing fibre, not least of which is small size and in response to this FBGS has announced the launch of its smallest diameter DTG fiber at only 80µm.

The new fibre offers some exciting opportunities compared to standard 125µm DTG fibers.

Because the fiber is thinner:
1. it is less invasive when embedded within laminate composite structures or textiles;
2. it requires less force to strain it which makes it more suited for acoustic sensors and hydrophones and
3. because it is more ”elastic” in respect to its bending properties, it can be used in applications where small bend radii are required.

The fiber has been released as a Beta-product for the 1550nm window and is drawn with an Ormocer coating that brings the outer fiber diameter to about 114µm.

The new 80µm diameter fiber retains all the attributes of the larger 125 µm DTG product, including:
• extremely high mechanical strength
• spliceless FBG chains
• low bending loss (high NA fiber)
• wide temperature range (cryogenic to +200degC)
• Ormocer coating
• Uniform coating even at FBG position

CEO Hugo Mertens says “this development has come mainly as a result of market forces. The composite and textile industry is very exciting and manufacturers in this sector are starting to incorporate DTG’s for sensing applications. We are simply responding to requests for a fiber that is less invasive to the host material and at 80µm it is all but invisible”.

FBGS would like to build collaborations with those companies that share this vision for “smart materials”.

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