Optical fiber based sensing has now moved from laboratory demonstrations to actual applications in the real world. This
has necessitated an entirely new area of extrusion - the packaging (cabling) of optical fibers and sensor arrays to protect
them from the intended environment and installation handling while not masking or attenuating the phenomenon that is
Although each application presents new and unique challenges, the goal is to create a packaging concept for fiber
Fiber sensing applications can be narrowed down to the five items below:
1. Conventional cable packages
2. Assembled (typically by hand) discrete sensor packages
3. Package enhanced sensors (where the packaging improves the effect of the sensor)
4. Linear sensor installation packaging
5. Scalar packaging (where the cabling adds to the range of the sensor)
The above applications can be accomplished in a number of ways, and methods are still being developed in this
relatively new science. Some of the new technology methods being explored include: UV cured liquids; Voided space cores; Conventional cable extrusion & its determination of mechanical characteristics. This paper reviews the pluses and minuses of the above methods and how their combination ultimately determines how
the fiber or sensor array is to be jacketed in order to meet the specific application requirements.
This paper will also review non-standard material characteristics, strength members and their role in measuring strain
and stress values along with the overall influence of packaging on optical fibers and sensor arrays.