"“POlymer Grating Sensors” (POGS) is a project that will significantly extend the range of application of silica optical fibre grating sensors by developing a mature version of the technology in polymer optical fibres, whilst at the same time forming a training environment for the fellow that is both interdisciplinary and intersectoral. Polymer fibres offer some significant potential advantages over silica, the two most important perhaps being the ability to sense much higher strains – as may be encountered in modern composite materials - and the considerably reduced stiffness of the plastic compared to the glass fibre. Polymers are however complex materials and the properties of a polymer grating sensor are dependent on the sensor fabrication process.
This project places the fellow at the centre of a collaboration between two key groups in this field. The host, Dr. DJ Webb, heads a team who are the world leaders in polymer fibre grating fabrication. The fellow will also spend several months at the Technical University of Denmark, who are at the forefront of microstructured polymer fibre fabrication particularly relating to fibres based on TOPAS cyclic olefin copolymer. In 2011 this collaboration produced the first grating sensors in TOPAS fibre and have shown that these devices do not display the sensitivity to humidity that is a problem with the usual fibres based on poly(methyl methacrylate).
This timely project gives the fellow the opportunity to explore and develop this brand new fibre technology for long term, high strain sensing, producing optimised, repeatable and reliable grating sensors and develop new applications whilst undertaking research with industrial collaborators (Dr. Peter Foote - BAe Systems, Dr. Kate Sugden – Astasense Ltd) who will provide an industrial perspective on the technology.
The project incorporates both “on the job” and formal training in both scientific and “soft” skills to allow the fellow to develop as an independent researcher."
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