For this study, a novel optical fiber sensing system was developed and tested for the monitoring of corrosion in transportation systems. The optical fiber sensing system consists of a reference long period fiber gratings (LPFG) sensor for corrosive environmental monitoring and a LPFG sensor coated with a thin film of nano iron and silica particles for steel corrosion monitoring. The environmental effects (such as pH and temperature) are compensated by the use of the reference LPFG sensor. The sensor design, simulation, and experimental validation were performed in this study to investigate the feasibility of the proposed sensing system for corrosion and environment monitoring. The detailed investigations of the proposed sensing system showed that within the detection limitation of the thin coated layer, the proposed sensor could monitor both the initial and stable corrosion rate consistently. Compared to the traditional electrochemical method, the proposed optical fiber sensing system has a converter coefficient of 1 nm/day=3.746×10-3 A/cm2. Therefore, the proposed nano iron/silica particles dispersed polyurethane coated optical fiber sensor can monitor the critical corrosion information of the host members in real time and remotely. With multiple LPFGs in a single fiber, it is possible to provide a costeffective, distributed monitoring solution for corrosion monitoring of large scale transportation structures.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

Report Number


Document Type

Technical Report

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2012 Mid-America Transportation Center, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2012