This paper presents an innovative sensor system, created specifically for new civil engineering structural monitoring applications, allowing specially packaged fiber grating-based sensors to be used in harsh, in-the-field measurement conditions for accurate strain measurement with full temperature compensation. The sensor consists of two fiber Bragg gratings that are protected within a polypropylene package, with one of the fiber gratings isolated from the influence of strain and thus responding only to temperature variations, while the other is sensitive to both strain and temperature. To achieve this, the temperature-monitoring fiber grating is slightly bent and enclosed in a metal envelope to isolate it effectively from the strain. Through an appropriate calibration process, both the strain and temperature coefficients of each individual grating component when incorporated in the sensor system can be thus obtained. By using these calibrated coefficients in the operation of the sensor, both strain and temperature can be accurately determined. The specific application for which these sensors have been designed is seen when installed on an innovative small-scale flexi-arch bridge where they are used for real-time strain measurements during the critical installation stage (lifting) and loading. These sensors have demonstrated enhanced resilience when embedded in or surface-mounted on such concrete structures, providing accurate and consistent strain measurements not only during installation but subsequently during use. This offers an inexpensive and highly effective monitoring system tailored for the new, rapid method of the installation of small-scale bridges for a variety of civil engineering applications.
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering