Strain Distribution in Thin Concrete Pavement Panels under Three-Point Loading to Failure with Pre-Pulse-Pump Brillouin Optical Time Domain Analysis


Thin concrete panels reinforced with alloy polymer macro-synthetic fibers have recently been introduced to rapidly and cost-effectively improve the driving condition of existing roadways by laying down a fabric sheet on the roadways, casting a thin layer of concrete, and then cutting the layer into panels. This study is aimed to understand the strain distribution and potential crack development of concrete panels under three-point loading. To this end, six full-size 6ft×6ft×3in concrete panels were tested to failure in the laboratory. They were instrumented with three types of single-mode optical fiber sensors whose performance and ability to measure the strain distribution and detect cracks were compared. Each optical fiber sensor was spliced and calibrated, and then attached to a fabric sheet using adhesive. A thin layer of mortar (0.25 ~ 0.5 in thick) was cast on the fabric sheet. The three types of distributed sensors were bare SM-28e+ fiber, SM-28e+ fiber with a tight buffer, and concrete crack cable, respectively. The concrete crack cable consisted of one SM-28e+ optical fiber with a tight buffer, one SM-28e+ optical fiber with a loose buffer for temperature compensation, and an outside protective tight sheath. Distributed strains were collected from the three optical fiber sensors with pre-pulse-pump Brillouin optical time domain analysis in room temperature. Among the three sensors, the bare fiber was observed to be most fragile during construction and operation, but most sensitive to strain change or micro-cracks. The concrete crack cable was most rugged, but not as sensitive to micro-cracks and robust in micro-crack measurement as the bare fiber. The ruggedness and sensitivity of the fiber with a tight buffer were in between the bare fiber and the concrete crack cable. The strain distribution resulted from the three optical sensors are in good agreement, and can be applied to successfully locate cracks in the concrete panels. It was observed that the three types of fibers were functional until the concrete panels have experienced inelastic deformation, making the distributed strain sensing technology promising for real applications in pavement engineering.

Meeting Name

Structural Health Monitoring and Inspection of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure (2015: Mar. 8-12, San Diego, CA)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Optical fibers; Sensors; Video; Failure analysis; Fiber optics sensors; Adhesives; Calibration; Polymers; Sensor performance; Single mode fibers

Document Type

Video - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2015 SPIE, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2015