Localized Temperature Variations in Laser-Irradiated Composites with Embedded Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors

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Jenkins, R. Brian ; Joyce, Peter ; Mechtel, Deborah (2017)
  • Publisher: MDPI
  • Journal: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), volume 17, issue 2 (issn: 1424-8220, eissn: 1424-8220)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5335978, doi: 10.3390/s17020251
  • Subject: high energy radiation | temperature sensors | strain sensors | smart structures | TP1-1185 | fiber Bragg gratings | structural health monitoring | Chemical technology | polymer matrix composites | Article
    arxiv: Physics::Optics

Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) temperature sensors are embedded in composites to detect localized temperature gradients resulting from high energy infrared laser radiation. The goal is to detect the presence of radiation on a composite structure as rapidly as possible and to identify its location, much the same way human skin senses heat. A secondary goal is to determine how a network of sensors can be optimized to detect thermal damage in laser-irradiated composite materials or structures. Initial tests are conducted on polymer matrix composites reinforced with either carbon or glass fiber with a single optical fiber embedded into each specimen. As many as three sensors in each optical fiber measure the temporal and spatial thermal response of the composite to high energy radiation incident on the surface. Additional tests use a 2 × 2 × 3 array of 12 sensors embedded in a carbon fiber/epoxy composite to simultaneously measure temperature variations at locations on the composite surface and through the thickness. Results indicate that FBGs can be used to rapidly detect temperature gradients in a composite and their location, even for a direct strike of laser radiation on a sensor, when high temperatures can cause a non-uniform thermal response and FBG decay.
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