Distributed Optical Fiber Testing for Additive Manufacturing

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University of Texas at Austin


This paper explores optical fiber's use for in-situ inspection of additive manufacturing. Single-mode SMF-28 optical fiber can be placed on the build plate to monitor the printing process or embedded in the part. Distributed measurements using optical backscattering reflectometry (OBR) resolve the strain along the optical fiber and the temperature. OBR-enabled sensing is demonstrated for the fused filament fabrication (FFF) process. The small diameter (0.125 mm) of SMF-28 lends itself to embedding in FFF prints. This enables laying the fiber into the part, which provides continued sensing for the details in use. Knowledge of the process and the fiber arrangement allows heating from the deposition head to be distinguished from stress-driven strain. Calibration of the fiber arrangement is discussed, as well as a comparison with process modeling.


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