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25 April 2012 Mechanical reliability of microstructured optical fibers: a comparative study of tensile and bending strength
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Microstructured optical fibers are increasingly used in optical fiber sensing applications such as for example optical fiber based structural health monitoring. In such an application the fiber may experience substantial mechanical loads and has to remain functional during the entire lifetime of the structure to be monitored. The resistance to different types of mechanical loads has therefore to be characterized in order to assess the maximum stress and strain that a fiber can sustain. In this paper we therefore report on the extensive set of tensile tests and bending experiments that we have conducted both on microstructured optical fibers with an hexagonal air hole lattice and on standard optical fibers. We use Weibull statistics to model the strength distribution of the fibers and we follow a fracture mechanics approach in conjunction with microscopic observations of the fractured end faces to study crack initiation and propagation in both types of fibers. We show that the failure strain of microstructured fibers is about 4.3% as obtained with tensile tests, compared to 6.7% for reference fibers. Although the mechanical strength of microstructured optical fibers is lower than that of the standard fibers it is still adequate for these fibers to be used in many applications.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
C. Sonnenfeld, S. Sulejmani, T. Geernaert, S. Eve, M. Gomina, M. Makara, K. Skorupski, P. Mergo, F. Berghmans, and H. Thienpont "Mechanical reliability of microstructured optical fibers: a comparative study of tensile and bending strength", Proc. SPIE 8426, Microstructured and Specialty Optical Fibres, 84260Q (25 April 2012);

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