Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors may probe ultrafast changes in pressure caused by shock waves propagating in solid and liquid media impacted by high velocity projectiles. The FBG spectra are measured using an optical system comprising economically priced electro-optical components offering 5 nsec temporal resolution and 0.8 – 1.6 nm spectral resolution. We present results showing evolution of 5 kBar shock wave pressure in approx. 100 nsec, as well as the dependence of the FBG response on the physical length of the sensor (1mm and 0.1mm), and on the relative orientation between the FBG axis and the shock wavefront.
FBGs respond to external pressures in ways that reflect both the strain-optic effect and the geometrical variations, both induced by the applied pressure. While the response to static isotropic pressure is quite straight forward and intuitive, the response to anisotropic shock waves is much more complex and depends also on the relative orientation between the fiber and the shock propagation direction. We describe and explain experimental results for both cases.