Skip to Main Content
Smart materials with integrated sensing capabilities are now ubiquitous in many structures and devices manufactured from composite materials and they offer enhanced safety, reliability and efficiency in such smart devices. This paper explores the application of embedded sensors to components manufactured using additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technology. ALM offers the ability to create physical parts with little or no restriction in shape and complexity. In this paper, optical fiber sensors incorporating fiber Bragg gratings are embedded inside a component made by, and during a powder-bed-based, layer-by-layer, additive manufacturing process. A commercial EOS P730 system is used, where a laser is employed to sinter the polymeric powder into a 3D component. The fiber embedding approach is based upon insertion of a “fiber-carrier” component, which replaces a removable “place-holder” component during an interruption of the ALM build process. Tensile test specimens fabricated this way are subjected to extended cyclic tensile loading trials at low strain levels of up to 580 με . The test specimens demonstrate stable and reproducible responses over a period in excess of 720 days and 311000 load cycles. Polyimide and acrylic jacketed fibers are trialled, and the resulting deformations of the component through internal stresses depending on the fiber jacket type are discussed.