Global star project with Taiwan: Smart Floating Track-bed Monitoring System

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TNO DAS system used in field trial

This project, initiated by DOC, is aimed at developing a smart Floating Track-bed Monitoring System (SmartFTMS) using all fiber optical sensors. The project partners are from the Netherlands (Optics11, TNO) and Taiwan (Senyeh, ITRI) as required by the RVO program ‘EUREKA Globalstars Photonics’. This program was formally launched on the 14th of March 2019 in Taipei (Taiwan), to enhance the development of new (integrated) photonics/optics technologies (in combination with electronics) and/or the application of these technologies in areas like: medical/healthcare, communication, civil engineering, agriculture and aerospace.

In the SmartFTMS project a fiber optic system will be developed and demonstrated to monitor the structural behaviour of an innovative floating track-bed that has been recently installed in a new part of the railway track (mass rapid transit), underground of Taipei (Taiwan). In the first phase of the project a demonstration is foreseen on the railway track in Taipei in Q1 of 2021 that includes three underlying technologies: The DeltaSens and OptimAE with point sensors and the Distributed Acoustic Sensing technology, referred to as “DAS”.

The first two technologies DeltaSens and OptimAE, are offered by Optics11, using a fiber optic network based upon point sensors at the end of the fiber or quasi distributed along the fiber.

Different fiber configurations glued and taped to steel rai

The third one is a technology development demonstrated by TNO, using a ‘distributed’ fiber optic network topology. This means that the optical fiber is read out as one long array of sensors, equally distributed’ along the sensing fiber.

In the picture below the TNO DAS system is shown that is built for Research and development purposes and has adjustable hard and software settings like, gauge length, sample (pulse) frequency, sampling resolution and laser pulse width.

The goal is to measure dynamic loads and vibrations of the smart floating track-bed and the steel railway on top of it. A first trial with the TNO DAS system has been done in Q1 of 2020 on a ‘railway track’ located at TNO location Waalsdorperweg. This track was set-up for different kind of acoustic tests and is only 10 metres long. So called ‘hammer’ tests were performed to evaluate five different ways of fiber placement and mounting.

Soundwaves “bouncing” from one side of the rail to the other side after a single hammer tap

These fiber-based monitoring systems can provide valuable information for all kinds of large infrastructures, like bridges, roads and dikes. The partners have demonstrated the feasibility for many of these applications.

So if monitoring infrastructure is your goal, give us a call to make it happen.

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Rob Jansen