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Proceedings Paper

Distributed fiber optic sensor for liquid hydrocarbon detection
Author(s): Alistair MacLean; Chris Moran; Walter Johnstone; Brian Culshaw; Dan Marsh; Geoff Andrews
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Paper Abstract

A distributed fiber optic sensor for the detection and location of hydrocarbon fuel spills is presented. The sensor is designed such that liquid swelling polymers transducer their swelling into a microbend force on an optical fiber when exposed to hydrocarbon fuels. Interrogation of the sensor using standard Optical Time Domain Reflectometry techniques provides the possibility of rapidly detecting and locating target hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals at multiple positions along the sensor length. Events can typically be located to a precision of 2 m over a 10 km sensor length. Sensor response time on exposure to the hydrocarbon fuel is within 30 seconds. A detailed explanation of the operational characteristics of the sensor and the underlying technology utilized in its operation is given. Experimental tests using prototype sensors to simultaneously detect three separate 50 centimeter-long events are described. The characteristics of the sensor response in a range of hydrocarbon fuels under varying environmental conditions were investigated. Some of the safety advantages in using the sensor and its practical implementation in continuous monitoring of pipelines or fuel containment vessels are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2001
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4328, Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Sensory Phenomena and Measurement Instrumentation for Smart Structures and Materials, (6 August 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.435550
Show Author Affiliations
Alistair MacLean, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Chris Moran, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Walter Johnstone, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Brian Culshaw, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Dan Marsh, PINACL Communications (United Kingdom)
Geoff Andrews, PINACL Communications (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4328:
Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Sensory Phenomena and Measurement Instrumentation for Smart Structures and Materials
Eric Udd; Daniele Inaudi, Editor(s)

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