In the present study, a new approach to the installation of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors in three asphalt pavement layers (the surface layer and both base layers) was implemented for the first time in Belgium. Fiber Bragg grating sensors (FBGs) are diagnostic tools that accurately and efficiently monitor in situ structural behavior. However, nowadays, this technology is not commonly used in asphalt due to its application restrictions under installation and service conditions. FBGs are fragile and break easily under loading. Therefore, there is a need for suitable protection of FBG sensors if they are to be installed during the rough construction process and exposed to heavy-duty loading afterwards. The main objective of the present study is to show the FBG results only for the initial construction process, and, if successful, to continue studying this FBG monitoring system and to plan the next research step by adjusting the system for its application in heavy-duty pavements. Two approaches to FBG installation in three asphalt layers (placed at the bottom of each layer
) were tested in the present study: (1) installation of FBGs in prefabricated asphalt specimens in the base layer, directly on the base, and (2) installation of FBGs on the surface of the previously constructed asphalt layer. Both innovative approaches allow the implementation of FBGs without sawing the whole layer into two parts. The obtained results proved a survival rate of 100% for the FBGs. It can be concluded that these new described methods of FBG installation—using a cross-section configuration to carry out strain measurements in two directions (transverse and longitudinal
)—can be applied for the monitoring of heavy-duty pavements, while providing the possibility to further re-evaluate current pavement design methods used in Flanders (Belgium).
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