This paper proposes a method for using a pair of identical fiber Bragg gratings to measure the unbalanced strain factor in an isothermal-mechanical system. Cascading two identical fiber Bragg gratings, the unbalanced strain factor caused by the disturbance can be interrogated from the peak difference of the two reflecting Bragg wavelengths. If the mechanical system is in an isothermal environment, the thermal variations in the Bragg grating detection system can be automatically compensated. To verify the feasibility of the unbalanced strain detection using a pair of fiber Bragg gratings, the wall-thinning monitor in a pressure vessel system was investigated. The proposed technique is easy to install, immune to electro-magnetic and thermal interference, and highly sensitive in-time to remote monitoring for fiber optic smart structures. A finite element model (FEM) is used to simulate the wall thinning in a pressure vessel system. The minimum detectable unbalanced strain and cross-talk between two reflecting Bragg wavelengths were investigated.
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