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Geotechnical Instrumentation News

John Dunnicliff

Introduction Heres another article about distrib- Alex Feldman

This is the sixty-fourth episode of GIN. uted fiber-optic sensing by colleagues
Two articles this time. from the Institute for Geotechnical En-
gineering, ETH Zrich - Swiss Federal
Web-based Data Management Institute of Technology, who appear to
Software be playing a leading role in developing
In the previous GIN I told of a request this technology. Because I expect that
from a colleague for information youd like to have information on com-
about web-based data management mercial sources, I asked the authors to
software and responded with, What include this but, being a professional
an excellent suggestion! Heres an institute, they preferred not to do so.
article by David Cook that identifies At the end of the article Ive therefore
things to consider, intended to assist included an Editors Note with eight
a person who needs instrumentation commercial sources - if you know of Alex Feldman.
geotechnical database management in others, please let me know, and Ill up-
determining what is important, before date the list in a later GIN. The following has been sent to me
committing to a particular system. by Alexs colleagues at Shannon &
A few weeks ago I sent the article Next Instrumentation Course in Wilson, Inc., Seattle, Washington.
to several firms who supply web-based Florida Alexander I. Feldman, an in-
data management software, inviting Since my previous GIN column, the ternationally known structural
each to respond with a one-page Ours dates of the next course have been and instrumentation engineer,
will do this article. Ive had positive changed. Dates are now April 3-5, passed away on August 14, 2010.
responses from seven firms and plan to 2011 at Cocoa Beach. Details are on Alex came to the US in the late
include their contributions in the next page 33 and on www.conferences.dce. 1970s following a meeting with
GIN, March 2011. ufl.edu/geotech. Stan Wilson, one of Shannon &
Wilsons co-founders, at a con-
More on Fiber-Optic Sensing Next International Symposium ference in Russia. Stan was im-
Systems on Field Measurements in
pressed and later sponsored Alex
Earlier GINs have included: Geomechanics (FMGM)
and his family to emigrate to the
From Switzerland: Overview of As many of you will know, FMGM
Fiber Optic Sensing Technologies symposia are organized every four
Alex had a brilliant mind, par-
for Geotechnical Instrumentation years, the previous one being in Boston
ticularly for instrumentation,
and Monitoring, and Distributed in September 2007. They are the
and never backed down from a
Fiber Optic Sensors: Novel Tools places to be for folks in our club.
challenge. Among his other ac-
for the Monitoring of Large Struc- The next FMGM will be in Berlin,
complishments, he pioneered
tures, both by Daniele Inaudi and Germany on September 12-16, 2011.
the use of open-channel liquid
Branko Glisic, September 2007. Information is on www.fmgm2011.
level systems to monitor vertical
From England: Distributed Optical og. The deadline for submission of
displacements of sensitive struc-
Fibre Strain Measurements in Civil abstracts is December 31, 2010.
tures such as tunnels and dams.
Engineering, by Peter Bennett, Alex was a long-time member
December 2008. of Shannon & Wilson. Ever the
innovator, he secured patents for
24 Geotechnical News December 2010

a Tensional Bellows Pressure Alex was an accomplished ama- A Breathtaking Experience

Transducer and, with three co- teur photographer, an avid read- Have you seen the movie The Bucket
workers, a patent for a Method er, and enjoyed a lively discus- List? I started my list, with Safari as
and Apparatus for Measuring in sion. Once you met Alex, you did Item One. The Masai Mara in Kenya. A
situ Strain and Stress of Con- not forget him. most extraordinary experience, beating
crete. After retiring, Alex often I worked with Alex on several proj- Taj Mahal, Giza pyramids, Grand
returned to Shannon & Wilson to ects, and can echo ever the innovator Canyon, Niagara Falls et al at al. Lions,
help with projects that needed his and brilliant mind. Our instrumenta- elephants, cheetahs, buffalos, giraffes
special expertise. tion community will miss him. (and many more) galore, often as close
as 15 feet from the 4WD. And those
idiotic wildebeests, crossing the Mara
River as part of the annual migration
of 1.3 million of their brethren. Large
numbers dont make it they either
drown or become dinner for the
crocodiles. Spectacular! Go gotta go! If
youd like specific suggestions, please
let me know.
Enjoy the wonderful Kenya
welcome song Jambo Bwana
(Hello sir) on www.youtube.com/
watch?v=fK0wPpLryc4, and learn
some Swahili too!

Please send contributions to this
column, or an article for GIN, to me as
an e-mail attachment in MSWord, to
john@dunnicliff.eclipse.co.uk, or by
mail: Little Leat, Whisselwell, Bovey
Tracey, Devon TQ13 9LA, England.
Tel. +44-1626-832919.

Maisha marefu! (Swahili, Long life

Kenya of course!)

The editor with new friends.

Fundamentals of Instrumentation
Geotechnical Database Management
Things to Consider
David Cook

Introduction in the procurement process. There Inevitably it is not a discussion of how

The purpose of this article is to identify are no right or wrong answers, only to achieve these results technically, but
elements of geotechnical monitoring a determination of need related to indicates the outcomes required. It is
databases: collection, verification, specific project requirements. a personal list, and others experience
storage, visualisation and dissemination This is not a checklist, but it dis- may identify different considerations
of monitoring data, which need to be cusses instrumentation, software and which are more important for their situ-
considered. This should allow users to hardware elements to be considered. ation.
make more informed decisions early

Geotechnical News December 2010 25


Why Do I Feel Able to Write Client Decisions for comparison purposes, which have
This Article? Data handling responsibilities must be not been pre-determined?
Readers may ask why my comments clearly determined at an early stage. Can the data be viewed in different
might assist others in their decision For example, does the monitoring graphing formats? For example incli-
making. I have been involved in contractor merely provide the data, nometer readings are often displayed
monitoring and the use of custom with responsibility only for verifying in a tail-wagging form but for exam-
interfaces to allow interpretation that it is correct, or do they also provide ining data against time, but it may be
of the results since the late 1980s, a visualisation package and analysis more useful to determine trends on a
commencing with the Docklands Light services? If a client chooses to split movement versus time graph, at a par-
Railway Extension into the City of these roles, does the client have the ticular level.
London (which included 3D-spatial capability of ensuring that mitigation
survey, displayed via AutoCAD) actions can be directed accordingly? Response Times
through Heathrow Express, Channel This decision will fundamentally direct What is the time delay from collection,
Tunnel Rail Link, Heathrow Terminal what is required. through import, to use being made
5 and Amsterdam Noord/Zuidlijn, an Table 1 indicates some fundamental within the visualisation software?
EPSRC study examining the benefits decisions which need to be made. This may be a project-wide standard
of 3D presentation of monitoring frequency, but more frequent at
results and as a Member of the British Interface focused locations (if required) without
Tunnelling Society Subcommittee How comprehensive an interface is compromising more global frequencies
producing Monitoring Underground required? Is 3D visualisation required elsewhere.
Construction: a best practice guide. and the added complexity this can Does an increase in the data held
involve appreciated? slow down response times, which then
Historic Context Systems are usually graphical, indi- make ease of archiving and re-import
At the outset, virtually all monitoring cating the locations being considered, (if required) a consideration? Times-
software was custom-made for for easy assimilation. cale issues are covered in Tables 2 & 3.
each project, with Excel a favoured Is a comparison of different instru-
data visualisation tool. Since then ment types within the same graphical Alarm Raising Functionality
proprietary software has become more output possible, for example compari- Assuming that the monitoring office
commonplace. However, some clients sons between borehole extensometer will not be staffed 24/7, the system
will require monitoring visualisation readings at surface and related precise will need to provide notification of
software to be incorporated with their levelling can be instructive in deter- trigger limit (response level) breaches
own systems, and that increasingly mining where problems lie? or potential trigger level breaches to
means within a corporate Geographic Is the system sufficiently flexible to an on-call monitoring engineer. This
Information System (GIS). allow selection of particular locations could be provided by SMS text, e-mail
(Blackberry), or a digitised voice over
a mobile phone. Consider how reliable
Table 1. Access requirements to monitoring data each of these communication routes is
Category Considerations at the project location, before fixing
Viewing Who needs to view the data and for what purpose? Is only on one. There need to be escalation
local access (from within one office or network) needed or is capabilities if the initial contact does
remote access, possibly via the Internet, also required? not respond within the requisite time
scale. How does the software escalate
Are multiple or limited simultaneous accesses by the various
the alarm raising? The alarm message
parties required? There may be a performance hit in terms of
is more meaningful if it gives specific
system response from multiple simultaneous accesses.
location where the breach is taking
Access Consider the access limitations to be put in place and related place, the breach level which is
Limitations security considerations for each user. This could be from a occurring (Red/Amber) (or predicted
Full Administrator Read and Write capabilities (including to occur within a certain time), the
ability to add or remove access to/from others) through to current value and the previous value
Read Only which, in itself, could be Read Only full access to plus the times at which these details
data for the main project team or partial access only for third were recorded.
Maintenance Is it possible for an on-call engineer to access remotely Instrumentation Types
and respond to alarms raised, without needing to attend Does the system handle all the
the monitoring office? It should be possible for limited instrumentation systems envisaged and
provision, even if general viewing of results by the team is is there the capability to incorporate
not planned. additional instrumentation types or at

26 Geotechnical News December 2010


Table 2. Project/data timescale issues - generic sight issues (RTS to prism) will result
in some prisms not being read. The
Category Considerations database software should be capable of
Timescale Over what timescales are the pre-construction, this discrimination, thereby assisting in
construction and close-out monitoring to be performed, maintenance operations.
and what use is to be made of that data after close-out There should be an ability to anno-
monitoring is completed? tate the information held. For example
Software Updates for operating systems/monitoring software maintenance work may affect readings
etc. are likely to take place within a project timescale at a certain location. Whilst the team
and recognition taken of this need. For example, if may be aware of the reason at that time,
monitoring software is based on a proprietary GIS, two years later researching the history
updates on the base GIS software may result in custom becomes more difficult if that informa-
routines needing to re-written. tion is not readily available.
The capability to include other rel-
Computer Hardware Developments may prevent use of earlier software.
evant information, such as reference
Whilst old software may run very fast on newer operating
photographs and details of construction
systems, it may not work at all.
progress may be required.
File Format and The data file format and means to read it over time are Ability to compare information be-
Storage Media important if long-term use is to be made. An example is tween primary and secondary instru-
the NASA 1960 space shots where there are warehouses mentation systems may be required.
of punched cards which no longer have the necessary Is the ability to be able to compen-
reading equipment. The AGS Data Format may prove sate for pre-construction movements
to the way forward, but be wary of proprietary formats important?
which may not be supported in future. How is the software segmented op-
What storage media is to be used and will it need erationally? Does a problem with data
updating over time? Over the last 20 years there have collection overspill onto visualisation,
been 8, 5.25 & 3.5 [720kb, 1.44Mb, 120Mb] effectively locking the system up?
floppy disks, Bernoulli drives, Zip drives, CD, DVD Is the system sufficiently scaleable
[+R/-R/RW], as relatively common examples. Many to encompass requirements at all moni-
organisations would now have trouble reading a 5 toring stages? A monitoring database
floppy. What provision (if any) is to be made for the sufficient to provide access to data dur-
project data longer term? ing pre-construction monitoring may
Time/Date Format A very simple point to indicate the importance of not meet the full project-wide system
Convention convention is that the Time/Date format (as expressed requirements during the construction
in output) should not be capable of confusion between phase. This could be in terms of lo-
different countries. An example is date/month/year as cations being monitored, instruments
indicated in UK v US systems and in countries where being used or user access require-
there is an hour change, from example Greenwich Mean ments. Any such limitations should
Time (GMT) to British Summer Time (BST) in the UK: be appreciated at commencement of
is it clear what is being viewed? How are the 23:00, pre-construction monitoring, and not
00:00 and 01:00 GMT readings indicated in a system discovered part-way though construc-
which shows BST readings? tion. Some specific data management
considerations are covered in Table 4.
least store output from other packages Other Functionality
within the monitoring database? For In addition to viewing monitoring Output
example railway track monitoring results for trigger limit (response Generally outputs are graphical in order
vehicles may be used as part of a value) breaches, there should be clear to aid review, but data in a numeric
monitoring system and derivation of demonstration of both instrument form often needs to be available for
data from such a specialist system may and reading availability (where these evaluation outside the main monitoring
be beyond generic monitoring software fundamentally differ) to allow effective package. This can be provided with
systems, but the ability to make a link to maintenance targeting. For example, an export facility to Excel and other
the data at relevant site locations is all a robotic total station (RTS) takes statistical and analysis packages.
part of the necessary data assimilation/ readings from a number of monitored
review process. prisms. The loss of an RTS will result Conclusions
in a total loss of readings for all those My apologies for the inevitable number
prisms. Alternatively local line-of- of questions rather than answers in this

Geotechnical News December 2010 27


Table 3. Project/data timescale issues - specific Table 4. Data management

Category Considerations Category Description
Customisation For custom software, what Collection How secure is data input to the system?
customisation services are For example is data placed on an FTP site
available? As an example, are which the software then imports, or does
simple predictive capabilities the software dial-up individual logger
needed/available? boxes to collect the data? How is access
Response Time Does the software process the data managed?
(General and then draw from a database It is important that both raw and
of that processed data, or does it processed data are collected and stored,
process on the fly for each query? even though is unlikely that raw data
What is the typical response time would need to be accessed unless a
from time of query to delivery of dispute arises.
results? Do the numbers of system Is Manual Data Capture information
users affect it at the time? readily input and if Remote Data
Capture (RDC) communication links are
Response Time Maintain access to data. Data temporarily unavailable can manually
(Data/Volume) quantity may require archiving if collected data from RDC instruments be
magnitude slows system down too readily imported to the system?
much, but base information needs to
be retained. Historic (archived) data Verification It is important that data verification
may need to be accessed - how is checks are carried out before the data is
this accomplished? used.
If imported monitoring data is
subsequently determined to be incorrect,
article. But, as indicated at the beginning, there is not a the ability to re-import/reprocess is
right answer for what is required. My intention is to assist an important consideration, without
a person who needs instrumentation geotechnical database overwriting data determined to be
management in determining what is important, before incorrect, but being able to flag it as not
committing to a particular system. If it assists in that aim it for use. Consideration must be given to
will have served its purpose. storing both raw and processed data.
Processing Is time to process the data within the
Bibliography visualisation software affected by the
Cook D.K. (1996). Heathrow Express Settlement Monitor- import system used?
ing Data Collection/Processing, Institution of Civil En- Can the system handle/process the
gineering Surveyors Conference. quantity of data envisaged, and can it
Cook D.K and Akbar M.S. (1999). Data Collection and Man- be more focussed when the situation
agement, FMGM, Singapore. demands it?
Replication/ In some systems, whilst backing-up is
David Cook, Associate Director, Mott MacDonald, Mott
Archiving taking place, access to the monitoring
MacDonald House, 8-10 Sydenham Road, Croydon
data may not be possible. In this
CR0 2EE, United Kingdom,
eventuality a form of data replication will
Tel +44 (0)208 774 2554,
be required to allow ongoing access to
email david.cook@mottmac.com
data. It should go without saying there
needs to be a disaster recovery system in

28 Geotechnical News December 2010


Advanced Geotechnical Applications of

Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensing
Alexander M. Puzrin
Michael Iten
Dominik Hauswirth

Introduction Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensing Recently, a significant breakthrough

Distributed fiber-optic (FO) strain was achieved in narrowing the spatial
sensors are offering new possibilities Measurement Technology resolution down to 5cm with extremely
in the field of geotechnical monitoring. Continuous strain can be measured short pulse durations in the Brillouin
By integrating a single FO cable into along optical fibers by several Echo Distributed Sensing (BEDS)
soil or structure, an unprecedented techniques based on the Brillouin setup. The BEDS concept is based on
amount of accurate, spatially resolved scattering effect: spontaneous Brillouin observing a negative gain created by
data can be obtained. Current Optical Time Domain Reflectometry a very short-time phase shift applied on
commercially available technology (BOTDR) occurs when a light pulse the pump that interferes destructively
allows for strain measurements in the guided through a silica fiber is with the reflected light. BEDS is not
microstrain () range (0.0001%) with backscattered by a nonlinear interaction commercially available yet, but first
a spatial resolution of 1m along a 30km with thermally excited acoustic waves. testing in soil has shown its potential
long fiber. In the more refined Brillouin Optical for future applications.
In this article we describe recent Time Domain Analysis (BOTDA), two Table1 gives an overview of the
novel geotechnical FO technology ap- counter-propagating light waves (pump listed technologies (see also Thvenaz,
plications in the laboratory and field. and probe) at different frequencies 2010).
The emphasis is to sketch the FO cable interact via stimulated acoustic waves.
layout, integration and the monitoring The scattered light undergoes a Fiber-Optic Cables
results, with details of the projects giv- frequency shift, which is directly re- FO cables used for integration into
en elsewhere (Iten et al., 2009a; Haus- lated to the strain and temperature in different environments have to
wirth et al., 2010; Iten & Puzrin, 2010). the medium. Thus, in addition to the comply with several requirements,
For locating landslide boundaries, a strained FO cable, a loose fiber must such as being strong enough to
soil-embedded sensor system, a road- be placed for temperature compensa- withstand harsh installation conditions,
embedded sensor and the reactivation tion. The backscatter is recorded in the transmitting strain applied on the
of an old inclinometer are described. time domain to obtain information of jacket without loss to the fiber core,
In addition, a new monitoring ground the scattering location along the fiber allowing unproblematic handling
anchor is presented. Finally, laboratory and the frequency shift of the signal is and offering flexible adjustment to
testing of a novel sensor technology analyzed and converted into strain and project modifications. The quality of
offering spatial resolution below 5cm temperature data. The strain measured the FO cable and its fixations strongly
indicates the direction where FO sen- is the average value over the spatial influences the overall measurement
sor technology is heading: substitution resolution (typically >1m), which cor- accuracy of the sensing system.
of hundreds of individual local strain responds directly to the length of the Increasingly, specialty FO cables
gauges with one single FO cable. light pulse sent down the fiber. Remote for strain sensing are available from
control and automatic measurement cable manufacturers. Most important
mode is possible. for the user is to focus on the quality

Table 1. Comparison of distributed FO strain sensing technologies, according to manufacturer information

Brillouin Optical Time Brillouin Optical Time Brillouin Echo Distributed
Domain Reflectometry Domain Analysis Sensing
Measurement accuracy 20 to 40 2 to 10 10 to 20
Spatial resolution 1m 1m 0.05m
Max. distance 30km 30km More than 5km
Availability Commercially Commercially Lab prototype
Comment Single fiber Loop required Loop required

Geotechnical News December 2010 29


Table 2: FO cables used

BSM TSM S06 S08 P07 S09 M07
Bare fiber Tight buffered Heat shrink Polyurethane Polyamide Polyamide Metal protected cable
fiber tube protected protected protected & metal
TSM cable cable protected
0.25mm 0.9mm 2mm by 3mm 2.8mm 1.6mm 3.2mm 0.9mm diameter
diameter diameter diameter diameter diameter
EA = 0.9kN EA = 0.9kN EA = 2kN EA = 2.5kN EA = 3kN EA = 50kN EA = 70kN
Commercial Commercial Custom Prototype Prototype Prototype Prototype
product product produced

and quantity of the strain transfer from laws. In some cases it is therefore of An instrumented road, which intersects
the jacket to the fiber, as by far not all crucial importance to determine the this boundary, can be seen as a large-
commercially advertised FO strain exact position of the boundary between scale strain gauge. The FO cable (of
sensing cables do fulfill this require- the landslide and the stable part of the longitudinal stiffness EA between S06
ment sufficiently. In addition, the FO slope. Geodetic measurements can and P07 in Table 2) was glued at 1m
cable design needs to allow for strip- identify the boundary on the surface, intervals inside a trench (about 10mm
ping of the protection layers down to but not necessarily with high accuracy. wide by 70mm deep) cut into asphalt,
the fiber itself in order to repair (splice) Inclinometers serve for detection with a temperature sensor placed on
the broken fiber. of the sliding surface, but once an top of it. Subsequently, the whole
Several single mode FO cables were inclinometer casing is excessively trench was filled with an elastic cold
used in this study, ranging from bare distorted, a conventional inclinometer sealing compound.
fibers to well-protected prototypes of probe can not be inserted and the Since 2006 three such road-em-
tight buffered FO strain sensing cables. inclinometer will no longer produce bedded systems have been integrated
Special attention was given to include results. and tested in the field. The differen-
only easy repairable FO cables in our New landslide monitoring tech- tial strain along a 90m long FO cable
research. Table 2 gives a brief over- niques by means of distributed FO accumulated in a 7 months period is
view of these FO cables. technology can offer an unprecedented shown in Figure 1. The transition zone
amount of high quality data at reason- has been identified as a 15m long sec-
Defining and Monitoring of ably low costs. By performing opti- tion and the landslide movement esti-
Landslide Boundaries cal strain measurements along the FO mated at about 20mm (by multiplying
cable, the transition zone between the the measured strain by the length of the
Motivation sliding and the stable parts can be iden- transition zone and assuming that the
Differential soil displacements tified. Several systems to determine FO cable crosses the boundary at 45
initiated by creeping landslides this boundary have been successfully angle). This was later independently
can cause immense problems by implemented in field projects on creep- verified by geodetical data. Good re-
damaging infrastructure and buildings ing landslides in the area of St. Moritz, peatability of measurements was con-
in the sliding area. Moreover, special Switzerland, as described below. firmed by installing another FO cable
construction and reinforcement at the same location.
requirements, or even total halt of Asphalt Road-Embedded FO
construction within a landslide area Cable Soil-Embedded Micro-Anchor
may be demanded by local construction The first system, an asphalt road- -FO Cable System
embedded FO For the boundary identification
cable, serves for in an area where no road or other
the evaluation of infrastructure exists, to which the
such a boundary FO cable could be attached, a soil-
in an urban area. embedded micro-anchor -FO cable

Figure 1. Strain data along a road-embedded FO cable. Figure 2. The micro-anchor - FO cable system.
30 Geotechnical News December 2010

system has been developed (Figure 2). is significantly more sensitive. Figure sections, such as the regularly-used
The principle of this second system 4 shows data from such a test of a FO commercially available monitoring
is that a FO cable fixed to micro- cable without anchors and a FO cable anchors that offer strain readings in up
anchors buried in soil experiences the with anchors. Additionally to the labo- to four sections.
same movement than the soil around ratory testing, an 80m long system has A novel monitoring ground anchor
it. The micro-anchor (Figure 3) been successfully installed in a field using embedded FO cables allows for
consists of three perpendicular planes project in St. Moritz. The temporal continuous strain assessment along the
in order to provide bearing resistance change in the measured strain incre- anchor tendon, and thus provide a pow-
in all directions and to act as a three ments correlates well with the indepen- erful tool for calculating the load distri-
dimensional dead anchor. The anchor dent geodetical and inclinometer mea- bution in the anchor tendon, which is of
size (side length of 40mm, 60mm surements in this location. interest to the geotechnical community,
or 80mm, respectively) is chosen as as other reliable methods are rare.
a function of the anchor depth and Reactivation of Old
the stiffness of the chosen FO cable Inclinometer Casings Design and Installation
(preferably S08 and S09, Table 2). The third monitoring system takes The monitoring anchor is built of a
advantage of old, out-of-service, tendon consisting of a hollow steel
inclinometer casings. In order to bar with a threaded outer surface of
continue using such casings, a FO 35mm diameter. As the integration of
cable (P07 or S08, Table 2) is placed FO cables is one of the key factors,
inside and the casing is filled with two different integration methods were
cement-bentonite grout. The current tested: integration in grooves machined
sliding surface can then be identified on the outside of the tendon at 180
and displacements on this surface degrees to each other and internally
back-calculated. Installation of such a in the hollow of the tendon. In the
system on site in 2008 allowed for the groove (1mm wide, 2mm deep), the
sliding surface to be detected within FO cables (BSM, TSM & P07) are
three months. directly glued to the tendon. In internal
integration, the FO cables (P07, S08
Applications in Ground Anchors & M07) are placed inside the hollow
center of the tendon later filled with a
Motivation low viscosity injection resin. In 2009,
The determination and monitoring such an 8m long monitoring anchor has
of the stress distribution along the been installed in a drillhole with a fixed
Figure 3. The micro-anchor. grouted section of a loaded ground anchor length of 5.75m (grouted). The
anchor tendon is essential for the anchor was integrated into a sheet pile
understanding of its bearing behavior. wall supporting an excavation pit.
Large scale laboratory testing of the Strain along anchor tendons is normally
system in a 9m long shear box proved measured at distinctive points by Monitoring
the system to be very efficient. Com- various sensors, such as conventional During anchor pullout testing, the
pared with data obtained by FO cables strain gauges and more recently, fiber anchor was loaded in stages up to 470kN,
buried without anchors and FO cables Bragg gratings. Other approaches are almost reaching its ultimate bearing
embedded into geotextiles, this system based on elongation measurements capacity. BOTDA measurements were
in a very limited amount of tendon taken at each loading stage recording

Figure 4. Strain measurements in a shear box obtained by a Figure 5. Monitoring ground anchor: load distribution from
FO cable only and the micro-anchor - FO cable system. FO measurements for selected load steps.
Geotechnical News December 2010 31

years, hundreds chor pullout tests in sand . Proc. of

of individual Physical Modelling in Geotechnics,
cracks can be ICPMG 2010, Zrich, Switzerland.
monitored with Iten M. and Puzrin A.M. (2010),
one single FO Monitoring of stress distribution
cable. along a ground anchor using BOT-
DA, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 7647,
Conclusions SSNDE Conference, San Diego,
and Outlook USA.
In contrast to Iten M., Puzrin A.M., Hauswirth D.,
structural health Foaleng-Mafang S., Beugnot J.C.
monitoring, FO and Thvenaz L. (2009b), Study
geotechnical of a progressive failure in soil using
monitoring BEDS, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 7503,
applications 20th International Conference on
are not yet Optical Fibre Sensors, Edinburgh,
Figure 6 Monitoring of single crack opening with 5cm resolu- very common. UK.
tion (in collaboration with Foaleng Mafang S. and Thvenaz However, their Thvenaz, L. (2010). Brillouin
L, EPF Lausanne, Switzerland).tif ability to provide distributed time-domain sensing in
e n o r m o u s optical fibers: state of the art and
the load distribution along the tendon amounts of data perspectives, Frontiers of Opto-
(Figure 5). This provides a better at low cost per reading (in spite of electronics in China, Vol. 3, No. 1,
understanding of the real strength the relatively expensive measurement China.
mobilization and progressive failure units) is a convincing fact. The issues
than some currently commercially that have to be handled with care are Alexander Puzrin, Michael Iten,
available monitoring anchors. (a) FO cable selection, (b) FO cable Dominik Hauswirth
integration and (c) data interpretation. Institute for Geotechnical Engineering
Applications Requiring High FO cables of a broad range of stiffness ETH Zrich - Swiss Federal Institute
Spatial Resolution and protection are now available. The of Technology
The novel BEDS technology, FO cable integration is project-specific Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 15, 8093
allowing for measurements with a and methods have been outlined in Zrich, Switzerland
spatial resolution of 5cm, is likely the references. The data interpretation Tel 41+44+633+6785
to expand the applications for FO requires background knowledge of FO alexander.puzrin@igt.baug.ethz.ch
sensing in geotechnical monitoring. technology. The authors are convinced michael.iten@igt.baug.ethz.ch
It becomes possible to detect single that for the applications described in dominik.hauswirth@igt.baug.ethz.ch
cracks in structures affected by ground this article, FO technology is a valuable
movements, and gives a comprehensive alternative to conventional methods. Editors Note
strain profile along geotechnical Some readers may want to know the
structures such as the monitoring References commercial sources of FO sensing
anchor or a pile. At the laboratory Iten M., Schmid A., Hauswirth D. systems. Heres a partial list. If you
scale, two applications have been and Puzrin A. M. (2009a), De- know of others, please let me know,
explored. In the first one, the strain fining and monitoring of landslide and Ill update the list in a later GIN.
profile evolution in a 2m long FO cable boundaries using fi-
pulled out of sand was successfully ber optic systems,
monitored (Iten et al., 2009b). In the Int. Symp. on Pre- Company Name and Country Website
second application a crack monitoring diction and Simu- FOS&S, Belgium www.fos-s.be
was performed by fixing a FO cable at lation Methods for
both sides of the crack leaving 10cm Inventec, The Netherlands www.inventec.nl
Geohazard Mitiga-
of the free cable length and moving one tion, Kyoto, Japan. Micron Optics, USA www.
fixation point by 0.1mm (simulating a Hauswirth D., micronoptics.com
crack opening). The BEDS data clearly Iten M., Richli R. Omnisens, Switzerland www.omnisens.ch
detects the crack opening (Figure and Puzrin A. M. OpSens, Canada www.opsens.com
6). With this technology becoming (2010). Fibre optic
commercially available during the next cable and micro-an- Sensornet, England www.sensornet.
Smartec, Switzerland www.smartec.ch
Tencate, The Netherlands www.tencate.com
32 Geotechnical News December 2010