The curing process of epoxy resin was monitored real-time by using embedded fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor. The resin was cured at room temperature 24°C for 24 hours. The curing monitor test showed that the temperature inside the resin went up quickly at the first 70 minutes. Then the temperature increased slowly till 120 minutes. Afterward, the central wavelength decreased which indicated two stage of curing, i.e. temperature reduction and curing shrinkage. Furthermore, the cured resin sample under tensile load was studied. Strain gauges were applied in order to evaluate the FBG sensor. Experimental results showed that difference existed between the mentioned sensors.
Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors were attractive in various fields for structural health monitoring. Because of their accurate performance and real time response, embedded FBG sensors are promising for strain monitoring in composite materials. As an optical fiber sensor was embedded inside a composite, interface would form around the embedded optical fiber and the host polymer composite. In order to study the influence of the embedded optical fiber to the mechanical character, finite elemental analysis was applied to study the stress distribution inside the composite. Keeping the resin rich area the same size, laminates with optical fibers in different diameters, which were 250 and 125 micrometers, were analyzed. The simulation results represent that stress singularity would occur around the embedded optical fiber. The singularity value for the laminate with optical fiber at 250 micrometer was higher than that with optical fiber at 125 micrometer. Micro- cracks would arise at the stress singularity point. Therefore, the optical fiber in smaller diameter was preferred since the mechanical strength could be higher. Four points bending test was carried out on a steel beam with a small-diameter FBG on the bottom surface. Besides, a strain gauge was stuck on bottom to validate the monitoring results by FBG sensor. The tested results indicated that the strain monitoring results by the small-diameter FBG sensor almost identical with the theoretical ones and what recorded by strain gauge. The maximum testing error for the designed FBG is less than 2% compared with the theoretical one.
Bending strength and elasticity modulus of composite, with and without embedded optical fibers, were experimentally studied. Two kinds of laminates, which were denoted as group 1 and group 2, were fabricated from an orthogonal woven glass/epoxy prepreg. Since the normal stress value becomes the biggest at the surface of a beam, the optical fibers were embedded at the outmost layer and were all along the loading direction. Four types of materials, using each kind of laminated prepreg respectively, were manufactured. The embedded optical fibers for the 4 material types were 0, 10, 30
and 50 respectively. Three-point bending tests were carried out on the produced specimens to study the influence of embedded optical fiber on host composite. The experimental results indicated that the materials in group 2 were more sensitive to the embedded optical fibers.