Luna Innovations Fiber Optic Sensors Help Monitor Structural Integrity of New Composite Bridge

Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ: LUNA) has partnered with researchers at the University of Tennessee (UT) and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) to equip a new fiber-reinforced polymer composite material (FRP) bridge deck with integrated, high-density fiber optic sensors, the company said.

The sensors will be used to monitor the composite deck system over time to give critical performance and safety data, thus providing a sustainable solution for aging infrastructures such as bridges and tunnels.

The Morgan County demonstration bridge in north central Tennessee will replace a damaged, decades-old concrete bridge. County officials are partnering with private industry and researchers on a bridge that can be installed faster and at a lower cost than traditional methods. Luna´s fiber optic sensors will form the key element of a structural health monitoring framework for the bridge, allowing engineers to ensure that the bridge operates safely and within established performance parameters for many years to come.

Due to the use of technologically advanced composites, the bridge deck system has a 100-year lifespan and a low-maintenance design. The system is equipped with Luna´s high-definition and high-speed fiber optic sensors for real-time monitoring of the composite deck system while in service.

FRP materials will be used to create a durable, sustainable, cost-effective lightweight bridge structure. By using composite materials, the bridge replacement project will require less equipment and less time for on-site preparation and on-site installation. Quicker completion can result in significant savings to safely meet transportation needs for this rural community.

Using Luna´s ODiSI measurement system, a single 10-meter sensor can provide strain from mechanical loading or thermal/hygroscopic loading from thousands of points simultaneously with exceptional precision. In addition, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors combined with Luna´s high-speed HYPERION interrogator can capture dynamic phenomena and additional bridge response data. Together, these systems will deliver the durability and performance data needed to facilitate the integration of new, advanced materials in civil infrastructure.

Luna Innovations Incorporated (www.lunainc.com) is a provider of optical technology, providing unique capabilities in high-performance, fiber optic-based, test products for the telecommunications industry and distributed fiber optic-based sensing for the aerospace and automotive industries.