Distributed fiber optic sensing of axially loaded bored piles

Loizos Pelecanos*, Kenichi Soga, Mohammed Z.E.B. Elshafie, Nicholas de Battista, Cedric Kechavarzi, Chang Ye Gue, Yue Ouyang, Hyung Joon Seo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Instrumented pile tests are vital to establish the performance of a pile and validate the assumptions made during initial design. Conventional instrumentation includes vibrating wire strain gauges and extensometers to measure the change in strain or displacements within a pile. Although these strain and displacement gauges are very accurate, they only provide strain/displacement readings at discrete locations at which they are installed. It is therefore common to interpolate between two consecutive points to obtain values corresponding to the data gaps between points; in practice, these discrete instrumented points could be tens of meters apart, at depths corresponding to different soil layers, and hence simple interpolation between the measurement points remains questionable. The Brillouin optical time-domain reflectometry fiber optic strain sensing system is able to provide distributed strain sensing along the entire length of the cable, enabling the full strain profile to be measured during a maintained pile load test. The strain data can also be integrated to obtain the displacement profile. This paper presents three case studies which investigate the performance of three concrete bored piles in London using both conventional vibrating wire strain gauges and distributed fiber optic strain sensing during maintained pile load tests, which enable comparisons made between the two instrumentation systems. In addition, finite-element analyses show that the ability to measure the full strain profiles for each pile is highly advantageous in understanding the performance of the pile and in detecting any abnormalities in the pile behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04017122
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Fiber optic sensors
  • Field monitoring
  • Finite-element analysis
  • Load transfer
  • Pile instrumentation
  • Pile load test
  • Piles


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