Internal strain monitoring in composite materials with embedded photonic crystal fiber Bragg gratings

Thomas Geernaert, Sanne Sulejmani, Camille Sonnenfeld, K. Chah, G. Luyckx, N. Lammens, E. Voet, M. Becker, Hugo Thienpont, Francis Berghmans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

2 Citations (Scopus)


The possibility of embedding optical fiber sensors inside carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for structural health monitoring purposes has already been demonstrated previously. So far however, these sensors only allowed axial strain measurements because of their low sensitivity for strain in the direction perpendicular to the optical fiber's axis. The design flexibility provided by novel photonic crystal fiber (PCF) technology now allows developing dedicated fibers with substantially enhanced sensitivity to such transverse loads. We exploited that flexibility and we developed a PCF that, when equipped with a fiber Bragg grating (FBG), leads to a sensor that allows measuring transverse strains in reinforced composite materials, with an order of magnitude increase of the sensitivity over the state-of-the-art. In addition it allows shear strain sensing in adhesive bonds, which are used in composite repair patches. This is confirmed both with experiments and finite element simulations on such fibers embedded in CFRP coupons and adhesive bonds. Our sensor brings the achievable transverse strain measurement resolution close to a target value of 1 mu strain and could therefore play an important role for multi-dimensional strain sensing, not only in the domain of structural health monitoring, but also in the field of composite material production monitoring. Our results thereby illustrate the added value that PCFs have to offer for internal strain measurements inside composite materials and structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. SPIE, 2014
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-62841-253-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSPIE Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VIII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 18 Aug 201419 Aug 2014


ConferenceSPIE Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VIII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA




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