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Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing on a Large Tunnel Construction Site

2019 Best Paper, International Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction by Werner Lienhart, Head of Institute, Graz University of Technology, Institute of Engineering Geodesy and Measurement Systems
ice Publishing

The Semmering Base Tunnel is currently one of the largest tunnel construction sites in Central Europe. Two tunnel tubes, each 27.3 km in length, are being built from the portal and three intermediate construction sites. Each access point poses specific challenges and structural monitoring is a crucial element to ensure both economic and safe construction. In this paper we describe one of the most comprehensive distributed fiber optic sensing installations on a tunnel construction site worldwide. At the Semmering Base Tunnel, fiber optic sensing is used at every construction location to monitor tunnel linings, shafts, reinforced earth structures and pipelines. We also discuss the challenges posed by the installations and the results of long-term monitoring programs. The installed monitoring systems will, furthermore, be used throughout the tunnel's expected 150 year operational lifetime. Unlike conventional sensors, fiber optic sensors do not comprise electric or moveable components at the measurement location. A longer lifetime can, therefore, be expected for fiber optic sensors which makes them promising candidates for condition-based maintenance of civil infrastructure.
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