Distributed Fiber Optic Measurements of Strain and Temperature in Long-Span Composite Floor Beams with Simple Shear Connections Subject to Compartment Fires


This study explores an instrumentation strategy using distributed fiber optic sensors to measure strain and temperature through the concrete volume in large-scale structures. Single-mode optical fibers were deployed in three 12.8 m long steel and concrete composite floor specimens tested under mechanical or combined mechanical and fire loading. The concrete slab in each specimen was instrumented with five strain and temperature fiber optic sensors along the centerline of the slab to determine the variation of the measurands through the depth of the concrete. Two additional fiber optic temperature sensors were arranged in a zigzag pattern at mid-depth in the concrete to map the horizontal spatial temperature distribution across each slab. Pulse pre-pump Brillouin optical time domain analysis (PPP-BOTDA) was used to determine strains and temperatures at thousands of locations at time intervals of a few minutes. Comparisons with co-located strain gauges and theoretical calculations indicate good agreement in overall spatial distribution along the length of the beam tested at ambient temperature, while the fiber optic sensors additionally capture strain fluctuations associated with local geometric variations in the specimen. Strain measurements with the distributed fiber optic sensors at elevated temperatures were unsuccessful. Comparisons with co-located thermocouples show that while the increased spatial resolution provides new insights about temperature phenomena, challenges for local temperature measurements were encountered during this first attempt at application to large-scale specimens.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center


U.S. Department of Transportation, Grant 59709

Keywords and Phrases

Composite slab; Concrete; Fiber optic sensors; Fire; PPP-BOTDA; Temperature

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2021 International Association for Fire Safety Science, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2021