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Performance Comparison of Three Fibre-Based Reflective Optical Sensors for Aero Engine Monitorization

Communications Engineering Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Ingeniero Torres Quevedo Plaza 1, E-48013 Bilbao, Spain
Fundación Centro de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas (CTA), Bizkaia Technological Park, E-48170 Zamudio, Spain
AOTECH, Advanced Optical Technologies S.L., E-48002 Bilbao, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(10), 2244;
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sensors for Structural Health Monitoring)
PDF [4801 KB, uploaded 15 May 2019]


Among the different available optical technologies, fibre bundle-based reflective optical sensors represent an interesting alternative for parameter monitorization in aero engines. Tip clearance is one of the parameters of great concern for engine designers and engineers. In the framework of this optical technology, three fibre-based reflective optical sensors have been compared. Two of them are custom designed and based on the same geometrical fibre arrangement, whereas the third one is commercially available and relies on a different geometrical arrangement of the fibres. Their performance has been compared in clearance measurements carried out during an experimental program followed at a transonic wind tunnel for aero turbines. The custom-designed solution that operates in the most sensitive part of its response curve proved to be by far the most reliable tool for clearance measurements. Its high resolution opens up the possibility to detect small blade features such as cracks, reflectivity changes, etc. that otherwise could not be tracked. These results show that the detection of unexpected features on blade tips may have an important effect on how the clearance is calculated, ultimately giving rise to corrective actions. View Full-Text
Keywords: fibre bundle; reflective optical sensor; tip clearance; turbine; aero engine fibre bundle; reflective optical sensor; tip clearance; turbine; aero engine

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Fernández-Bello, R.; Amorebieta, J.; Beloki, J.; Aldabaldetreku, G.; García, I.; Zubia, J.; Durana, G. Performance Comparison of Three Fibre-Based Reflective Optical Sensors for Aero Engine Monitorization. Sensors 2019, 19, 2244.

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