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Sensors (Basel). 2010;10(12):11174-88. doi: 10.3390/s101211174. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

An optical fiber viscometer based on long-period fiber grating technology and capillary tube mechanism.

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Department of Construction Engineering, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Douliou 64002, Taiwan.


This work addresses the development and assessment of a fiber optical viscometer using a simple and low-cost long-period fiber grating (LPFG) level sensor and a capillary tube mechanism. Previous studies of optical viscosity sensors were conducted by using different optical sensing methods. The proposed optical viscometer consists of an LPFG sensor, a temperature-controlled chamber, and a cone-shaped reservoir where gravitational force could cause fluid to flow through the capillary tube. We focused on the use of LPFGs as level sensors and the wavelength shifts were not used to quantify the viscosity values of asphalt binders. When the LPFG sensor was immersed in the constant volume (100 mL) AC-20 asphalt binder, a wavelength shift was observed and acquired using LabVIEW software and GPIB controller. The time spent between empty and 100 mL was calculated to determine the discharge time. We simultaneously measured the LPFG-induced discharge time and the transmission spectra both in hot air and AC-20 asphalt binder at five different temperatures, 60, 80, 100, 135, and 170 Celsius. An electromechanical rotational viscometer was also used to measure the viscosities, 0.15-213.80 Pa┬Ěs, of the same asphalt binder at the above five temperatures. A non-linear regression analysis was performed to convert LPFG-induced discharge time into viscosities. Comparative analysis shows that the LPFG-induced discharge time agreed well with the viscosities obtained from the rotational viscometer.


asphalt; long-period fiber grating (LPFG); refractive index (RI); sensor; viscosity; wavelength shift

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