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The response of polymer optical fiber (POF) to bending and axial tension for the application of a POF sensor for automotive seat occupancy sensing

Haroglu, Derya, Powell, Nancy, Seyam, Abdel-Fattah M.
The journal of the Textile Institute 2017 v.108 no.1 pp. 132-139
automobiles, bladder, cladding, deformation, electromagnetic interference, fabrics, industry, optical fibers, photons, polymers
The automotive industry is a promising area for innovations in the field of polymer optical fiber (POF) sensors as the industry currently uses the POF mostly for data transmissions. Since an optical fiber sensor has a high bandwidth, is small in size, is lightweight, and is immune to electromagnetic interference, it offers higher performance than that of its electrical-based counterparts such as the strain gage, elastomeric bladder, and resistive sensor systems. This enhanced performance makes an optical fiber sensor a suitable material for sensing seat occupancy for improved safety features in automobiles. The overall goal of this research is to develop a textile-based optical fiber sensor for automotive seat occupancy with high accuracy and reproducibility. In this study, the bending and tensile loading responses of POF were investigated, where two perfluorinated (PF) graded index (GI) POFs with two different core/cladding diameters, 62.5/750 and 62.5/490 μm, were used. The bending loss and the light attenuation against the applied axial stress were measured by a photon counting optical time-domain reflectometer. The critical bending diameters were analyzed: Cytop-1 (62.5/750 μm) ≥ 38.10 mm, Cytop-2 (62.5/490 μm) ≥ 44.45 mm. Furthermore, the elastic sensitive strain regions (x), where the stress-induced loss was recoverable, of the POFs at a 76.2 mm gage length at a strain rate of 4 mm/min were determined: Cytop-1: 3% ≤ x ≤ 3.5%, Cytop-2: 3.1% ≤ x ≤ 3.3%. The Cytop-1 was found to be less sensitive to bending and to have greater elastic sensitive strain range relative to the Cytop-2. In this study, a theoretical approach of the PF GI POF behavior to bending and axial tension was provided. The results demonstrated the feasibility of POFs as optical fiber sensors for automotive seat occupancy sensing.