Infrastructure and Specialty Optical Fibers
With optical fiber having the ability to be used as a sensor or have sensors written into the fiber directly, information can be gained on the health of a component or system remotely and over long lengths. Some examples are:
1. Embedding optical fiber into power cables to look for hot spots along the cable, which would indicate insulation breakdown or cable damage and to maximize the potential of the insulated power cable by allowing increased current flow up to the temperature rating of the cable.
2. Embedding fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) into wind turbine blades to monitor strain and to count the number of flex cycles to evaluate component fatigue.
3. Using radiation resistant optical fiber, for use in communication and sensing (distributed temperature and strain and point sensors) in nuclear storage and operations facilities.
4. Embedding optical fiber into dams to monitor leakage via distributed temperature sensing and monitoring strain either through FBGs or through Brillouin scattering for distributed strain.
5. Using optical fiber at critical junctures on bridges to monitor movement and strain through the use of FBGs or Brillouin scattering for distributed strain.