We report the early stage development of an intrinsic fiber optic sensor to detect the presence of nerve agent sarin simulant dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP). The sensor design is based on the modified cladding or coating approach. Conducting polymer polypyrrole is the chemo-optic transducer, i.e., is used as a modified cladding material. Sensitivity to approximately 134 ppm of DMMP is demonstrated in the developed sensor, with a sensor response of 20 mV and a response time of 2 sec. Morphology characterization of the polypyrrole is performed by scanning electron microscopy. Selectivity study of the developed sensor is presented by exposing the sensing element to other gases like acetone and ammonia. Influence of temperature and humidity on the developed sensor is investigated, along with ambient aging of polypyrrole films.
Smart textiles with integrated fiber optic sensors have been studied for various applications including in-situ measurement of load/deformation on the textiles. Two types of silica multimode optical fibers were successfully integrated into 4/4 Twill-woven and Plain-woven textiles along the warp direction of the textile structures for sensing of applied load conditions. The sensing mechanism is based on the MPD (Modal Power Distribution) technique, which employs the principle of intensity modulation based on modal power redistribution of the propagating light within multimode fibers caused by external perturbations. In the presence of transverse load applied to an integrated optical fiber, the redistribution of the modal power is an indication of the applied load. The spatial modal power redistribution was clearly recorded as a function of the optical intensity profile. Based on the uni-axial tensile test results, the relationship between the mechanical behavior of the textile and the output of the embedded fiber-optic sensor was established and understood. It is clearly demonstrated that the sensitivity and dynamic range of this type of intensity-based sensor is determined by the interaction between the fabric yarns and optical fibers, which are closely related with the textile structure and the type of optical fiber.
Smart textiles are defined as textiles capable of monitoring their own health conditions or structural behavior, as well as sensing external environmental conditions. Smart textiles appear to be a future focus of the textile industry. As technology accelerates, textiles are found to be more useful and practical for potential advanced technologies. The majority of textiles are used in the clothing industry, which set up the idea of inventing smart clothes for various applications. Examples of such applications are medical trauma assessment and medical patients monitoring (heart and respiration rates), and environmental monitoring for public safety officials. Fiber optics have played a major role in the development of smart textiles as they have in smart structures in general. Optical fiber integration into textile structures (knitted, woven, and non-woven) is presented, and defines the proper methodology for the manufacturing of smart textiles. Samples of fabrics with integrated optical fibers were processed and tested for optical signal transmission. This was done in order to investigate the effect of textile production procedures on optical fiber performance. The tests proved the effectiveness of the developed methodology for integration of optical fibers without changing their optical performance or structural integrity.