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- Optical Test
measurements of device RL even in the presence of variable connector loss, even for short lead lengths. This paper outlines the methodology used to establish a value for the scatter in optical fiber, and how this Rayleigh scatter level is used to maintain consistent reflection measurements.
The high spatial resolution and high sensitivity inherent to optical frequency domain reflectometery enables precise measurements of distributed insertion loss and return loss events. The ability to compensate return loss for variable insertion loss greatly adds to the accuracy and practicality of measurements. Further, the capability of measuring the Rayleigh backscatter internal to the instrument provides a stable power calibration artifact.
Recent advancements in composite materials technologies have broken further from traditional designs and require advanced instrumentation and analysis capabilities. Success or failure is highly dependent on design analysis and manufacturing processes. By monitoring smart structures throughout manufacturing and service life, residual and operational stresses can be assessed and structural integrity maintained. Composite smart structures can be manufactured by integrating fiber optic sensors into existing composite materials processes such as ply layup, filament winding and three-dimensional weaving. In this work optical fiber was integrated into 3D woven composite parts at a commercial woven products manufacturing facility. The fiber was then used to monitor the structures during a VARTM manufacturing process, and subsequent static and dynamic testing. Low cost telecommunications-grade optical fiber acts as the sensor using a high resolution commercial Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometer (OFDR) system providing distributed strain measurement at spatial resolutions as low as 2mm. Strain measurements using the optical fiber sensors are correlated to resistive strain gage measurements during static structural loading.