Fibre optic sensors for cable lifetime performance monitoring

Research projects

Project Description:

The Project

Logo for Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

The research project is in partnership with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. The PhD directly addresses sector needs to understand the behaviour of dynamic power cables through the integration of fibre optic sensors.

Failure and repair of array and export cables already represent one of the largest costs for wind farm operators. There are varied root causes for cable failures, including stresses caused by seabed movement and free spans, overheating as a result of excess burial depth and excessive curvature during installation and burial. As the offshore wind sector expands, it is necessary to deploy floating wind turbines in areas of deeper water. This in turn necessitates dynamic cables to transmit power from floating turbines to the seabed. These dynamic cables are subject to complex loading conditions caused by currents, tides, waves and platform motion and hence it becomes more important to understand the motion of the cable and understand the fatigue imposed upon it.

Fibre optic sensing schemes are an attractive solution for multi-point measurement of strain and curvature but there are limitations on the spatial resolution and the resolution of strain and curvature that can be achieved. This PhD will consider a range of fibre optic sensing schemes and associated interrogation techniques to assess their capabilities in measuring strain and curvature when incorporated into representative cable section structures. A particular focus will be on improving spatial resolution and resolving strain/curvature in 2 dimensions; which is important for understanding dynamic cable loading but is not currently possible. The research will develop a sensing approach to address the aforementioned issues. Research project activities will include modelling, design and fabrication of prototype sensors or sensing schemes. and the cable structures needed to achieve the aims of the project. These potential solutions will be evaluated experimentally.


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