Process and structural health monitoring of advanced fibre reinforced composites using optical fibre sensors

Nair, Abilash Kumar Kochumulappon Raghavan (2015). Process and structural health monitoring of advanced fibre reinforced composites using optical fibre sensors. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The focus of this research was to design, optimise and deploy a practical multi-measurand sensor (MMS) for process monitoring of glass and carbon fibre preforms in an autoclave. The MMS design was based on the optical fibre-based extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometric (EFPI) strain sensor. The EFPI sensor consisted of a pair of cleaved optical fibres, with a defined gap that were housed in a precision bore capillary. Interferometric interrogation was used to measure the cavity length hence, permitting the strain to be determined. The basic EFPI sensor design was modified in the following manner to enable multi-measurand monitoring.
Firstly, a fibre Bragg grating (FBG) was inscribed on one of the optical fibres that were destined to be housed in the capillary; the end-face of this cleaved optical fibre was sputter coated with Au/Pd to produce a reflective surface. This FBG is in a relatively strain-free condition and only responds to temperature. Secondly, a technique was developed to manufacture optical-quality end-faces of the capillary and this too was sputter coated with Au/Pd. Thirdly, secondary cleaved optical fibres were packed around the lead-in optical fibre of the EFPI sensor with a defined (secondary) cavity thus, permitting transmission/reflection FTNIR spectroscopy. Finally, cleaved secondary optical fibres were also secured to the lead-in fibre and these served as Fresnel reflection sensors. The interrogation of the MMS was carried out using a conventional fibre-coupled multi-channel FTNIR spectrometer. The feasibility of monitoring strain, temperature, cross-linking kinetics and refractive index simultaneously during the processing of glass and carbon fibre preforms was demonstrated.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Metallurgy and Materials
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme
Subjects: T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy


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