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Naval Research Lab Unveils Fiber Optic Sensor Tech for Autonomous Monitoring

naval research laboratoryNaval Research Laboratory personnel have introduced a new fiber optic sensor technology that can be integrated with an in-situ structural health monitoring system to provide autonomous monitoring of structural parameters including acoustic emission, temperature and strain.

The U.S. Navy said Wednesday NRL researchers think data gathered from the intrinsic optical fiber sensor can help monitor damage from impacts and cracks through the detection of acoustic emission signatures associated with crack initiation and growth.

“Primarily focused on monitoring the structural integrity of Navy assets, the technology may also have application on civilian aircraft, ships, and possibly bridges and buildings where continuous monitoring of critical components prone to fatigue and failure would prove beneficial,” said Geoffrey Cranch, NRL optical sciences research physicist.

The Office of Naval Research‘s materials division partially funded the NRL-developed laser sensor designed for crack detection and comprising impact measurement that can potentially provide a multi-parameter sensing feature to meet the full operational safety requirements for an SHM system.

Navy added that future updates on the technology will include the implementation of a phased array beam to form techniques that provide crack location features.

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