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Multi-functional FBG Interrogation for Integrated Structural Health Management



For Aerospace environments, sensor data and sensing systems are commonplace. Aircraft owners depend on those sensors, systems and signals to provide real-time structural health monitoring, supporting operational awareness and decision making, and to predict future behavior. Analysis methods in SHM more and more tend to explore monitoring approaches based on analysis of large amounts of statistical health sensor data. The use of fiber optic technology for sensing was already determined as applicable candidate for sensing technology for the purpose of supporting SHM programs in Aerospace. Enabling factors for operational implementation regards to the degree of structural impact of such systems to aircraft, cost of ownership, and ease of maintenance including the ability to provide prognostic capabilities. The introduction of the integrated photonics technology platform allows an extremely high degree of miniature integrating multi-disciplinary sensing capabilities; A single system footprint enables support and sensing capability for different measurement applications, e.g. damage and impact detection, shape and deflection monitoring, structural load measurements and distributed temperature measure capability, as well as integration of datacom features functions. This paper introduces a fiber optic sensing network system based on integrated photonics technology allowing that versatility. Multiple interrogation functions combined in a single unit, with detectors based on spectrometry and interferometry, combined wavelength and time division multiplexing techniques, high speed data acquisition and solid-state fiber optic channel switching, interrogation of thousands of uniquely identifiable FBG sensors in a single optical fiber. Subsequently, system implementation aspects regarding SHM ambitions are discussed, including sensor network redundancy and operational compliance and reliability requirements for aerospace environments.


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