On-time monitoring and condition assessments of steel cables provide mission-critical data for informed decision making, ensuring the structural safety of post-tensioned concrete structures. This study aimed to develop a spiral deployment scheme of distributed fiber optic sensors (DFOS) and to monitor/assess the post-tensioned force in seven-wire twisted steel cables, based on the pulse-pre-pump Brillouin optical time domain analysis. Each DFOS was placed in a spiral shape between two surface wires of a steel cable and glued to the steel cable by epoxy. Image observations were conducted to investigate the entireness and bonding condition between the optical fiber and the steel wires. Eight concrete bar specimens were cast, each with a pre-embedded plastic or metal duct at its center and each was post-tensioned by a steel strand through the duct once they were instrumented with two strain and two temperature sensors. The strand was loaded/unloaded and monitored by measuring the Brillouin frequency shifts and correlating them with the applied strains and the resulting cable force after temperature compensation. The maximum, minimum, and average cable forces integrated from the measured stain data were compared and validated with those from a load cell. The maximum (or average) cable force was linearly related to the ground truth data with a less than 10% error between them, after any initial slack had been removed from the test setup. The post-tensioned force loss was bounded by approximately 30%, using the test setup designed in this study.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


U.S. Department of Transportation, Grant 00059709

Keywords and Phrases

cable forces; distributed fiber optic sensors; post-tensioned concrete structures; prestress losses

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2022

PubMed ID