Assessment and visualization of performance indicators of reinforced concrete beams by distributed optical fibre sensing
Journal article, 2021

The implementation of structural health monitoring systems in civil engineering structures already in the construction phase could contribute to safer and more resilient infrastructure. Due to their lightweight, small size and high resistance to the environment, distributed optical fibre sensors stand out as a very promising technology for damage detection and quantification in reinforced concrete structures. In this article, the suitability of embedding robust distributed optical fibre sensors featuring a protective sheath to accurately assess the performance indicators, in terms of vertical deflection and crack width, of three reinforced concrete beams subjected to four-point bending is investigated. The results revealed that a certain strain attenuation occurs in embedded robust distributed optical fibre sensors compared to commonly used thin polyimide-coated distributed optical fibre sensors bonded to steel reinforcement bars. However, the presence of the protective sheath prevented the appearance of strain reading anomalies which has been a frequently reported issue. Performance wise, the robust distributed optical fibre sensors were able to provide a good estimate of the beam deflections with errors of between 12.3% and 6.5%. Similarly, crack widths computed based on distributed optical fibre sensor strain measurements differed by as little as ±20 µm with results from digital image correlation, provided individual cracks could be successfully detected in the strain profiles. Finally, a post-processing procedure is presented to generate intuitive contour plots that can help delivering critical information about the element’s structural condition in a clear and straightforward manner.

Reinforced concrete

performance indicators

Rayleigh backscattering

distributed optical fibre sensing

crack monitoring


Carlos Gil Berrocal

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Thomas Concrete Group

Ignasi Fernandez

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Mattia Francesco Bado

Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Joan Ramon Casas

Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Rasmus Rempling


Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Structural Health Monitoring

1475-9217 (ISSN)

Vol. In Press

SensIT - Sensor driven cloud-based strategies for infrastructure management

Microsoft Research, 2018-07-01 -- 2020-08-31.

Swedish Transport Administration (2018/27871), 2018-07-01 -- 2020-08-31.

Thomas Concrete Group, 2018-07-01 -- 2020-08-31.

NCC AB, 2018-07-01 -- 2020-08-31.

WSP Sverige, 2018-07-01 -- 2020-08-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering

Infrastructure Engineering



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