Small strain monitoring by means of analysis of spekle pattarn at the output of multimode polymer fiber

V. Varyshchuk*, Ya. Bobitski*,**

*Lviv Polytechnic National University
**University of Rzeszow, Poland


In this paper an optical scheme and the operation principle of strain monitoring based on the interference between guided modes in multimode polymer optical fiber is investigated. The possibility of measuring of the relative strain by processing of speckle patterns at the exit face of multimode fiber is studied theoretically and experimentally. The algorithm of correlation processing of speckle pattern is developed too. The recent progress of polymer technology allowed the application of plastic optical fiber in sensor design. Polymer optical fibers (POFs) have many advantages for sensing applications, including high elastic strain limits, high fracture toughness, high flexibility in bending, high sensitivity to strain. Polymers also have excellent compatibility with organic materials, giving them great potential for structural health monitoring. The most schemes of POF sensors were constructed using single-mode fiber, because it has high technical parameters. But, optical schemes of single-mode POF sensors are very complex. Multimode POF sensor can be constructed using only one fiber and digital camera. This simple scheme is based on the phenomenon of interference between modes in multimode optical fiber. The features of the low cost sensing technique for small strain measuring with using multimode POF were considered. This investigation shows that relative strain of conventional polymer optical fiber can be measured with high accuracy by correlation processing of speckle patterns formed at the exit face of fiber. The correlation method considered in the paper allows one to measure an axial elongation of the fiber within 0 to 50•10-7 m for typical multimode polymer optical fiber with the core diameter 980 μm. The interval between measurements is a few seconds, are needed to stabilize of speckle pattern. The measuring range of such strain sensor depends on properties of fiber used as sensitive element of sensor and using wavelength. The sensitive of sensor is determined by the changes of refractive index and temperature variations due to fiber deformation. Device sensitivity may easily be modified to coincide with required measurement sensitivity through careful choice of the active sensing fiber parameters. The sensing technique presented in this paper is simple, effective and inexpensive solutions to the problem of small strain measurements.