Structures today are primarily designed for a single purpose, such as supporting a load. Nature, by contrast, almost always creates multi-functional structures. Look at your hand ! Your hand can certainly lift weights, but in addition you can assess the weight and the speed with which you are lifting it. The human hand has driven a six inch nail through a plank of wood and performed microsurgery on the brain of a traumatized patient. Although it will be some time before we can duplicate nature, the first step to following natures paradigm is to build structures with the ability to monitor their status and health. Fiber optic technology is destined to form the backbone of the 21st century's Information Age. During the past 10 years it has also become apparent that fiber optic technology is very well suited to structural monitoring and is capable of tasks not practical or economically viable with conventional technology. In the case of the construction industry, for instance, the condition of large numbers of major structures (bridges, dams, tunnels...) could be monitored by this fiber optic sensing technology from central stations through telephone lines, cellular phones, or satellite links. It may be possible in the future for an engineer or student anywhere on the planet to use the internet to log on to one of the
many major structures and see in real-time the structure's response to its environment and loading and compare this response to that predicted by a computer model of the structure. Structural Monitoring with Fiber Optic Technology provides an introduction to the relevant background material needed to understand and appreciate the technology that underpins this new form of structural monitoring. The book richly illustrates the subject matter with over 500 figures and provides many examples of fiber optic structural sensing, including
a detailed overview of a number of major field site applications. A conscious effort has been made to focus on those aspects of the technology that show the greatest promise in terms of future development and broad implementation. Although the civil engineering community has been the first to really embrace fiber optic structural monitoring, as seen in the abundant examples of applications, the technology is equally applicable to other industrial sectors, such as the aerospace and marine industries. This book is designed to introduce fiber optic structural sensing to those engineers interested in learning what is possible with this new monitoring technology. It is intended to serve as a primer for understanding the basics of the technology and, most important, to provide on insight into its extraordinary measurement capability.