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Development and Longer Term In Situ Evaluation of Fiber-Optic Sensors for Monitoring of Structural Concrete

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6 Author(s)
McPolin, D.O. ; Sch. of Planning, Archit. & Civil Eng., Queen''s Univ. of Belfast, Belfast, UK ; Basheer, P.A.M. ; Long, A.E. ; Weiguo Xie
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In this paper, new solutions to the problem of making measurements, of carbonation and chloride ingress, in particular, in concrete structures are considered. The approach has focused on the design, development, and use of fiber-optic sensors (FOSs), recognizing the need in that conventional devices are often either inaccurate, expensive, or unsuitable for encapsulation in the material. The sensors have been designed to monitor, in situ and nondestructively, relevant physical, and chemical changes in cementitious materials. Three different types of FOS were constructed, tested, and evaluated specifically for this application, these being a temperature sensor (based on the fluorescence decay) and pH and chloride sensors, based on sol-gel (solidified gel) technology with appropriate impregnated indicators. The sensors were all designed to be inserted into the structures and evaluated under the harshest conditions, i.e., being mounted when the mortar is poured and thus tested in situ, with the temperature and pH sensors successfully embedded in mortar. The outcomes of these tests have shown that both the temperature sensor and the pH sensor were able to function correctly for the duration of the work - for over 18 months after placement. The laboratory tests on the chloride sensor showed it was able to make measurements but was not reversible, limiting its potential utility for in situ environments. Research is ongoing to refine the sensor performance and extend the testing.

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 11 )