Role of the interface between distributed fibre optic strain sensor and soil in ground deformation measurement

Cheng-Cheng Zhang 1, Hong-Hu Zhu 1,2 & Bin Shi 1

1 School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

2 Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, United Kingdom.

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to H.-H.Z. 

Scientific Reports | 6:36469 | DOI: 10.1038/srep36469

Abstract Recently the distributed fibre optic strain sensing (DFOSS) technique has been applied to monitor deformations of various earth structures. However, the reliability of soil deformation measurements remains unclear. Here we present an integrated DFOSS- and photogrammetry-based study on the deformation behaviour of a soil foundation model to highlight the role of strain sensing fibre–soil interface in DFOSS-based geotechnical monitoring. Then we investigate how the fibre–soil interfacial behaviour is influenced by environmental changes, and how the strain distribution along the fibre evolves during progressive interface failure. We observe that the fibre–soil interfacial bond is tightened and the measurement range of the fibre is extended under high densities or low water contents of soil. The plastic zone gradually occupies the whole fibre length when the soil deformation accumulates. Consequently, we derive a theoretical model to simulate the fibre–soil interfacial behaviour throughout the progressive failure process, which accords well with the experimental results. On this basis, we further propose that the reliability of measured strain can be determined by estimating the stress state of the fibre–soil interface. These findings may have important implications for interpreting and evaluating fibre optic strain measurements, and implementing reliable DFOSS-based geotechnical instrumentation.


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