Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract An interferometric-fiber-optic sensor and an efficient fringe-detection scheme are described. The fiberoptic interferometer consists of two fibers; they are labeled the reference fiber and the sensing fiber. The reference fiber is arranged in a circular pattern, whereas the sensing fiber is arranged in an ‘S’ pattern. These fibers are exposed to the same strain field and each experiences a strain-induced phase shift. A difference in the phase shift between the two fibers indicates a change in strain. The strain-induced phase difference causes the interferometrically produced fringes to shift spatially. Analysis shows that the number of fringes passing an arbitrary point on a screen (the detection point) is linearly related to the strain in the fiber. In this analysis, the strain sensor is assumed to be perfectly bonded so that the fibers experience the same strain field as the specimen. It is further assumed that the sensor covers a sufficiently small area so that the strain can be considered constant over the entire strain sensor. Also, the phase change produced by transverse strain components (with respect to the fiber) induced by the specimen is assumed negligible compared to the phase changes attributable to the axial strain components. A cantilever beam was used as a specimen. Experimentally determined strains correlated well with the strains predicted by beam theory. The fringe-detection scheme described is a high-speed fringe counter. The speed of this counter is necessary to detect vibrational phase noise which is invisible to the human eye. Two photodiodes detect the fringes, and a logic circuit counts the fringe shifts, both strain and noise induced. Since noise is random in nature, it can be averaged out. This fringe detector exhibits good sensitivity and is the key to moving the sensor from the laboratory to the field.
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