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Nickel plating of FBG strain sensors for nuclear applications

Perry, M. and Niewczas, P. and Johnston, Michael and Mackersie, J. (2011) Nickel plating of FBG strain sensors for nuclear applications. In: 21st International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors. Proceedings of SPIE . SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering., Bellingham. ISBN 9780819482464

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We present a method for plating FBG strain sensors with a strongly-bonded, hermetic nickel layer, without exposure of the fiber to corrosive environments. A 1 mu m thick, highly adhesive chrome layer is deposited onto bare fibers via evaporation. Addition of an inert and electrically conductive gold layer then allows the fiber to be electroplated with a 50-100 mu m nickel layer. Finite element models have confirmed that nickel plated FBG sensors can be brazed into steel structures and used to monitor local strain and temperature. Embedding gratings that are temperature and radiation resistant will be particularly applicable to the structural health monitoring of steel prestressing tendons used in the concrete containments of nuclear power plants and other safety-significant structures.