Indexed on: 19 Dec '14Published on: 19 Dec '14Published in: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
The working principle of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors is mostly based on the tracking of the Bragg wavelength shift. To accomplish this task, different algorithms have been proposed, from conventional maximum and centroid detection algorithms to more recently-developed correlation-based techniques. Several studies regarding the performance of these algorithms have been conducted, but they did not take into account spectral distortions, which appear in many practical applications. This paper addresses this issue and analyzes the performance of four different wavelength tracking algorithms (maximum detection, centroid detection, cross-correlation and fast phase-correlation) when applied to distorted FBG spectra used for measuring dynamic loads. Both simulations and experiments are used for the analyses. The dynamic behavior of distorted FBG spectra is simulated using the transfer-matrix approach, and the amount of distortion of the spectra is quantified using dedicated distortion indices. The algorithms are compared in terms of achievable precision and accuracy. To corroborate the simulation results, experiments were conducted using three FBG sensors glued on a steel plate and subjected to a combination of transverse force and vibration loads. The analysis of the results showed that the fast phase-correlation algorithm guarantees the best combination of versatility, precision and accuracy.