Fatigue Testing of a Composite Propeller Blade using Fiber-Optic Strain Sensors
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The performance of surface-mounted extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometric (EFPI) sensors during a seventeen-million-cycle, high-strain fatigue test is reported. Fiber-optic strain measurements did not degrade during the test. The sensors were applied to a composite propeller blade subject to a constant axial load and a cyclic bending load. Strain measurements were taken at four blade locations using two types of EFPI sensors and co-located electrical resistance strain gages. Static and dynamic strain measurements were taken daily during the 65 days of this standard propeller-blade test. All fiber-optic sensors survived the fatigue test while most of the resistive gages failed. The suitability of fiber-optic monitoring for fatigue testing and other high-cycle monitoring is demonstrated.