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ECN publication
State-of-the-art investigation on fiber optic sensors
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1996
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-I--96-005 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
30 Download PDF  

Significant progress has been made recently in the development of smartstructure technology. In this course smart structures could be an interesting option for advanced wind turbine rotor blades. Initial application would include the introduction of simple health monitoring or damage sensing systems. Examples of these early systems would be localized strain monitoring of the blade root section. Later efforts would include a structural integrity warning system which could cover the complete rotor blade. Composite structures and materials will require development of methods for measuring rapidly-changing strains simultaneously at many points throughout a structure. The sensor must meet these specifications without harming the mechanical performance of the structure and should allow easy, demountable, secure connection to signal indication equipment located remotely from the sensor assembly. The sensor itself should be as simple as possible to construct and the complexity of the signal processing arrangement must be minimized. Optical-fiber technology provides a basis for gathering data from many points, with negligible crosstalk or interference and potentially very wide bandwidth. The fiber-based optic sensors have demonstrated the ability to detect damages induced by fatigue or manufacturing defects. These sensors are typically embedded in the composite structure to measure the desired structural integrity parameter of interest. This report describes the applicability of several fiber optic sensors which could be installed in a wind turbine rotor blade. First, in section 2 the advantages of a fiber optic sensor system compared with common electrical alternatives is given. Next, sections 3 and 4 present a basic fracture detection and an advanced optical fiber sensing system. In chapter 5 the influence of fiber optic sensors on the performance of composite materials is addressed. Finally, in section 6 the conclusions of this work are presented, followed by additional information on the fiber optic technology in chapter 7. An overview of available literature in the field of fiber optic sensor technology is included. 6 figs., 22 refs.

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