Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2010 TOPIC AREA: Safety and security CENTER: METRANS UTC

Development of Fiber Optic Sensor Networks for Transportation Infrastructure Monitoring

Project Summary

The problem to be addressed in this proposal pertains to the monitoring and management of transportation infrastructural health utilizing fiber optic sensing technology. The proposed fiber optic sensing technology offers superior performance and extensive capability to the structural health monitoring applications. We will conduct comprehensive performance evaluation for point and distributed fiber optic sensors aiming at the application for the long-span transportation infrastructural monitoring. In the proposed research, validation of the point and distributed fiber optic sensors will be implemented through laboratory and field tests. A structure health monitoring system using quasi-distributed sensor network and distributed sensor will be then designed, built, and tested for field deployment test. The research team has made an arrangement with Caltrans engineers to conduct field deployment test in one of the transportation infrastructure in Southern California. The field test data will be reviewed and analyzed to obtain important information to justify fiber optic sensing technology for future system installation. The prototype deployed in the selected transportation infrastructure will continue to collect structural information for technology and design validation. A system design utilizing fiber optic sensor network used in the monitoring and management for transportation infrastructures based on the research project will be proposed as the end result of the research effort.

In the recent research effort of the METRANS research project [1-2], we have conducted an extensive investigation on various structural sensing technologies based on fiber optic technology for monitoring transportation infrastructures. We have found that the fiber optic sensing technology for the structure health monitoring (SHM) application, in particular for the long-span transportation infrastructure, is still not widely accepted. The field data of the fiber optic sensing technology available from current transportation infrastructure monitoring systems is very limited compared to that from the systems based on the conventional sensing technology. Moreover, the research and development in the fiber optic sensor focuses mostly on measurements in strain, deformation, and temperature; other key structural parameter monitoring is still lack of attention. In order to fully take the advantages of the technology, the research and development effort has to be directed at real field application and pursue sensing technology for monitoring other structural parameters.

The primary objective of the proposed research project is to validate the fiber optic sensor technology for the long-span transportation infrastructural monitoring application. The specific objectives for the proposed research project are:

-Conduct performance evaluation of key fiber optic sensors for the transportation infrastructural monitoring in the laboratory environment,
-Design, build, and test a prototype of fiber optic sensor network for structural monitoring in a real field environment,
-Propose an integrated monitoring system based on the result of the field test for future system installation.
-Investigate cost/benefit of the fiber optic sensing technology for the application.

Task Descriptions
(1) Establish sensor performance requirement

(2) Validate sensor performance

(3) Conduct field tests on sensor networks

(4) Gather and analyze field test data

(5) Design a monitoring and management system for future installation

(6) Final Report

Milestones, Dates:
(1) Month 1-3

(2) Months 4-8

(3) Months 9-12

(4) Months 9-12

(5) Months 10-12

(6) Month 12

Total Budget:

Student Involvement:
One graduate student at 540 hours

Relationship to Other Research Projects:
Related to 09-13; part of the infrastructure focus area

Technology Transfer Activities:
Project report will be posted soon

Potential Benefits of the Project:
Improving Upon Health Monitoring and Management of Transportation Infrastructure

TRB Keywords:
fiber, optic, sensing, technology, infrastructure, health, monitoring

Primary Subject:
1p.1 The monitoring and management of transportation infrastructural health utilizing fiber optic sensing technology


Chin Chang
Professor, Electrical Engineering Department; College of Engineering
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
VEC-501Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
[email protected]