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- An intrinsic optical-fiber sensor based on Faraday Effect is developed that is highly suitable for measuring lightning current on aircraft, towers and complex structures. Originally developed specifically for aircraft installations, it is light-weight, non-conducting, structure conforming, and is immune to electromagnetic interference, hysteresis and saturation. It can measure total current down to DC. When used on lightning towers, the sensor can help validate other sensors and lightning detection network measurements. Faraday Effect causes light polarization to rotate when the fiber is exposed to a magnetic field in the direction of light propagation. Thus, the magnetic field strength can be determined from the light polarization change. By forming closed fiber loops and applying Ampere's law, measuring the total light rotation yields the total current enclosed. A broadband, dual-detector, reflective polarimetric scheme allows measurement of both DC component and AC waveforms with a 60 dB dynamic range. Two systems were built that are similar in design but with slightly different sensitivities. The 1310nm laser system can measure 300 A - 300 kA, and has a 15m long sensing fiber. It was used in laboratory testing, including measuring current on an aluminum structure simulating an aircraft fuselage or a lightning tower. High current capabilities were demonstrated up to 200 kA at a lightning test facility. The 1550nm laser system can measure 400 A - 400 kA and has a 25m fiber length. Used in field measurements, excellent results were achieved in the summer of 2012 measuring rocket-triggered lightning at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing (ICLRT), Camp Blanding, Florida. In both systems increased sensitivity can be achieved with multiple fiber loops. The fiber optic sensor provides many unique capabilities not currently possible with traditional sensors. It represents an important new tool for lightning current measurement where low weight, complex shapes, large structure dimension, large current, and low frequency capabilities are important considerations.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20140003896.
International Lightning Metrology Conference (ILMC); 20-21 Mar. 2014; Tucson, AZ; United States.
International Lightning Detection Conference (ILDC); 18-19 Mar. 2014; Tucson, AZ; United States.
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