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Application of Sapphire-Fiber-Bragg-Grating-Based Multi-Point Temperature Sensor in Boilers at a Commercial Power Plant

1
Center for Photonics Technology, The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
3
Central Steam Plant, Facilities Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(14), 3211; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19143211
Received: 29 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 21 July 2019
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Abstract

Readily available temperature sensing in boilers is necessary to improve efficiencies, minimize downtime, and reduce toxic emissions for a power plant. The current techniques are typically deployed as a single-point measurement and are primarily used for detection and prevention of catastrophic events due to the harsh environment. In this work, a multi-point temperature sensor based on wavelength-multiplexed sapphire fiber Bragg gratings (SFBGs) were fabricated via the point-by-point method with a femtosecond laser. The sensor was packaged and calibrated in the lab, including thermally equilibrating at 1200 °C, followed by a 110-h, 1000 °C stability test. After laboratory testing, the sensor system was deployed in both a commercial coal-fired and a gas-fired boiler for 42 days and 48 days, respectively. The performance of the sensor was consistent during the entire test duration, over the course of which it measured temperatures up to 950 °C (with some excursions over 1000 °C), showing the survivability of the sensor in a field environment. The sensor has a demonstrated measurement range from room temperature to 1200 °C, but the maximum temperature limit is expected to be up to 1900 °C, based on previous work with other sapphire based temperature sensors. View Full-Text
Keywords: single-crystal sapphire fiber; fiber Bragg gratings; distributed sensing; temperature sensing; wavelength multiplex; femtosecond laser; boiler single-crystal sapphire fiber; fiber Bragg gratings; distributed sensing; temperature sensing; wavelength multiplex; femtosecond laser; boiler
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Yang, S.; Homa, D.; Heyl, H.; Theis, L.; Beach, J.; Dudding, B.; Acord, G.; Taylor, D.; Pickrell, G.; Wang, A. Application of Sapphire-Fiber-Bragg-Grating-Based Multi-Point Temperature Sensor in Boilers at a Commercial Power Plant. Sensors 2019, 19, 3211.

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