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Assessment of cracks detection in pavement by a distributed fiber optic sensing technology

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This paper presents the feasibility of damage detection in asphalt pavements by embedded fiber optics as a new non-destructive inspection technique. The distributed fiber optic sensing technology based on the Rayleigh scattering was used in this study. The main advantage of this technique is that it allows to measure strains over a long length of fiber optic with a high spatial resolution, less than 1 cm. By comparing strain profiles measured at different times, an attempt was made to link strain changes with the appearance of damage (cracking) in the pavement. This non-destructive method was evaluated on accelerated pavement testing facility, in a bituminous pavement. In our experimentation, the optical fibers were placed near the bottom of the asphalt layer. The application of 728,000 heavy vehicle loads (65 kN dual wheel loads) was simulated in the experiment. Optical fiber measurements were made at regular intervals and surface cracking of the pavement was surveyed. After some traffic, a significant increase of strains was detected by the optical fibers at different points in the pavement structure, before any damage was visible. Later, cracking developed in the zones where the strain profiles were modified, thus indicating a clear relationship between the increased strains and crack initiation. These first tests demonstrate that distributed fiber optic sensors based on Rayleigh scattering can be used to detect crack initiation and propagation in pavements, by monitoring strain profiles in the bituminous layers.

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Correspondence to X. Chapeleau.

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Chapeleau, X., Blanc, J., Hornych, P. et al. Assessment of cracks detection in pavement by a distributed fiber optic sensing technology. J Civil Struct Health Monit 7, 459–470 (2017).

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