An optical device for measuring bending strain to 5000 microstrain and compatible with optical fiber installations

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An optical sensor is described which can be attached to a structure and used as a gage for measuring bending strain. This device can be adjusted to maximize the gage factor for predetermined strain ranges. The sensor consists of glass capillaries coated on the outer surfaces with an optical absorbing layer followed by a reflecting layer. A mechanical strengthening layer can be included to extend the range of strain response. A source laser beam from an optical fiber is injected into one end of the gage. The light remaining in the beam after traveling through the gage is collected via another optical fiber. The optically active layer is adjusted during manufacture to provide a predetermined gage factor. For a given thickness of the absorber layer, the detected light is proportional to the amount of bending. Thus, by rigidly affixing the sensor to a structural member, the strain experienced by the member can be monitored. © 2005 IEEE.

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IEEE Sensors Journal