Abstract

A theoretical and experimental investigation of the transverse load sensitivity of Bragg gratings in birefringent fibers to conforming contact is presented. A plane elasticity model is used to predict the contact dimensions between a conforming material and optical fiber and the principal stresses, indicating birefringence, created as a result of this contact. The transverse load sensitivity of commercially available birefringent fiber is experimentally measured for two cases of conforming contact. Theoretical and experimental results show that birefringent optical fiber can be used to make modulus-independent measurements of contact load. Therefore, Bragg gratings could be applied to conforming contact load measurements while avoiding some of the complications associated with existing contact sensors: specifically, the necessity to precalibrate by using materials with mechanical properties identical to those found in situ.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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