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Application of Additive Layer Manufacturing Technique on the Development of High Sensitive Fiber Bragg Grating Temperature Sensors

LEAL-JUNIOR, A. ; Casas, J. ; Marques, C. ; Pontes, M. J. Pontes ; Frizera-Neto, A. Frizera-Neto

Sensors Vol. 18, Nº 12, pp. 4120-1 - 15, December, 2018.

ISSN (print): 1424-3210
ISSN (online): 1424-8220

Journal Impact Factor: 2,033 (in 2015)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/s18124120

This paper presents the development of temperature sensors based on fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) embedded in 3D-printed structures made of different materials, namely polylatic acid (PLA) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). A numerical analysis of the material behavior and its interaction with the FBG sensor is performed through the finite element method. Thereafter, a simple, fast and prone to automation process is presented for the FBG embedment in both PLA and TPU structures. The temperature tests are made using both PLA- and TPU-embedded FBGs as well as an unembedded FBG as reference. Results show an outstanding temperature sensitivity of 139 pm/°C for the FBG-embedded PLA structure, which is one of the highest temperature sensitivities reported for FBG-based temperature sensors in silica fibers. The sensor also shows almost negligible hysteresis (highest hysteresis below 0.5%). In addition, both PLA- and TPU-embedded structures present high linearity and response time below 2 seconds. The results presented in this work not only demonstrate the feasibility of developing fully embedded temperature sensors with high resolution and in compliance with soft robots applications requirements, but also show that the FBG embedment in such structures is capable of enhancing the sensor performance.