Structural health monitoring using smart optical fibre sensors

H. Davies, L. A. Everall, A. M. Gallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the potential of a smart monitoring system, incorporating optical fibre sensing techniques, to provide important structural information to designers and users alike. This technology has application in all areas including aerospace, civil, maritime and automotive engineering. In order to demonstrate the capability of the sensing system it has been installed in a 35m free-standing carbon fibre yacht mast, where a complete optical network of strain and temperature sensors were embedded into a composite mast and boom during lay-up. The system was able to monitor the behaviour of the composite rig through a range of handling conditions and the resulting strain information could be used by engineers to improve the structural design process. The optical strain sensor system comprises of three main components: the sensor network, the opto-electronic data acquisition unit (OFSSS) and the external PC which acts as a data log and display. Embedded fibre optic sensors have wide ranging application for structural load monitoring. Due to their small size, optical fibre sensors can be readily embedded into composite materials. Other advantages include their immediate multiplexing capability and immunity to electromagnetic interference. The capability of this system has been demonstrated within the maritime environment, but can be adapted for any application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-143
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE- The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Optical fibre sensors
  • Smart Materials
  • Strain gauges
  • Strain sensors
  • Structural Health Monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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