Damage detection and characterization using fiber optic sensors

Branko Glisic, Dorotea Sigurdardottir, Yao Yao, David Hubbell

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

3 Scopus citations


Fiber optic sensors (FOS) have significantly evolved and have reached their market maturity during the last decade. Their widely recognized advantages are high precision, long-term stability, and durability. But in addition to these advantageous performances, FOS technologies allow for affordable instrumentation of large areas of structure enabling global large-scale monitoring based on long-gauge sensors and integrity monitoring based on distributed sensors. These two approaches are particularly suitable for damage detection and characterization, i.e., damage localization and to certain extent quantification and propagation, as illustrated by two applications presented in detail in this paper: post-tensioned concrete bridge and segmented concrete pipeline. Early age cracking was detected, localized and quantified in the concrete deck of a pedestrian bridge using embedded long-gauge FOS. Post-tensioning of deck closed the cracks; however, permanent weakening in a bridge joint occurred due to cracking and it was identified and quantified. The damage was confirmed using embedded distributed FOS and a separate load test of the bridge. Real-size concrete pipeline specimens and surrounding soil were equipped with distributed FOS and exposed to permanent ground displacement in a large-scale testing facility. Two tests were performed on different pipeline specimens. The sensors bonded on the pipeline specimens successfully detected and localized rupture of pipeline joints, while the sensors embedded in the soil were able to detect and localize the failure plane. Comparison with strain-gauges installed on the pipeline and visual inspection after the test confirmed accurate damage detection and characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2013
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 SPIE Conference on Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2013Mar 14 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


Other2013 SPIE Conference on Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Bragg-grating
  • Bridge
  • Distributed sensors
  • Long-gauge sensors
  • Pipeline
  • Stimulated brillouin scattering
  • Structural health monitoring


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