7 December 2004 Fiber optic chemical sensor systems for monitoring pH changes in concrete
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Carbonation-induced corrosion of steel is one of the principal causes of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures. When concrete carbonates, its pH decreases from a value in excess of 12.6 to less than 9 and, hence, a measure of the pH is an indicator of the degree of carbonation. This paper describes the development, testing and evaluation of two types of fibre optic sensors for the pH monitoring. One of these used a sol-gel based probe tip, into which an indicator dye has been introduced and the second used a disc containing an indicator operating over a narrower range of pH with shorter lifetime. Both were connected to a portable spectrometer system, which is used to monitor the spectral changes in optical absorption of the probe tip. A white light source to interrogate the active elements is used as the systems operate in the visible part of the spectrum. The two types of sensors have been found to be sensitive to the changes in pH due to carbonation, but the response time depended on the thickness of the coating material in the case of the sol-gel sensor. The durability of the sensors is still under investigation. The disc type sensor has a life span of approximately 1 month and, hence, it is not suitable for embedding in concrete for long-term monitoring of pH changes. However, it can be used for assessing the pH in vivo. The harder sol-gel is more durable and, hence, has a slower, but acceptable response time.
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Muhammed P.A. Basheer, Kenneth T. V. Grattan, Tong Sun, Adrian E. Long, Daniel McPolin, Weiguo Xie, "Fiber optic chemical sensor systems for monitoring pH changes in concrete", Proc. SPIE 5586, Advanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies II, (7 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.601198; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.601198


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