Development of Fiber-Bragg-Grating-Integrated Artificial Embedded Tendon for Multifunctional Assessment of Temperature, Strain, and Curvature


This paper presents the development and application of an optical fiber-embedded tendon based on biomimetic multifunctional structures. The tendon was fabricated using a thermocure resin (polyurethane) and the three optical fibers with one fiber Bragg grating (FBG) inscribed in each fiber. The first step in the FBG-integrated artificial tendon analysis is the mechanical properties assessment through stress–strain curves, which indicated the customization of the proposed device, since it is possible to tailor the Young’s modulus and strain limit of the tendon as a function of the integrated optical fibers, where the coated and uncoated fibers lead to differences in both parameters, i.e., strain limits and Young’s modulus. Then, the artificial tendon integrated with FBG sensors undergoes three types of characterization, which assesses the influence of temperature, single-axis strain, and curvature. Results show similarities in the temperature responses in all analyzed FBGs, where the variations are related to the heterogeneity on the polyurethane matrix distribution. In contrast, the FBGs embedded in the tendon presented a reduction in the strain sensitivity when compared with the bare FBGs (i.e., without the integration in the artificial tendon). Such results demonstrated a reduction in the sensitivity as high as 77% when compared with the bare FBGs, which is related to strain field distributions in the FBGs when embedded in the tendon. In addition, the curvature tests indicated variations in both optical power and wavelength shift, where both parameters are used on the angle estimation using the proposed multifunctional artificial tendon. To that extent, root mean squared error of around 3.25° is obtained when both spectral features are considered. Therefore, the proposed approach indicates a suitable method for the development of smart structures in which the multifunctional capability of the device leads to the possibility of using not only as a structural element in tendon-driven actuators and devices, but also as a sensor element for the different structures. © 2023 by the authors.


Pires-Junior R.; Frizera A.; Marques C.; Leal-Junior A.

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