1R21. Structural Monitoring with Fiber Optic Technology. - RM Measures (Inst for Aerospace Studies, Univ of Toronto, Downsview, Toronto, Canada). Academic Press, San Diego. 2001. 716 pp. ISBN 0-12-487430-4. $175.00.

Reviewed by S Abrate (Col of Eng, Southern Illinois Univ, Mailcode 6603, Carbondale IL 62901-6603).

This is book deals with use of fiber optics for structural monitoring. As explained in the first chapter, the subject of the book should be seen in the larger context of smart structures, which are defined as possessing a structurally-integrated sensing system. Sensors are used to monitor the state and response of the structure. Fiber optic technology has been developed recently; it has some definite advantages over older more established technologies and is generally not familiar to practicing engineers. This book addresses a need for a comprehensive reference on this subject.

The author is well known for his original contributions to the field and several comprehensive reviews of the literature. Seventy-five articles for which Prof Measures is the author or one of the co-authors are listed in an extensive list of references containing 693 entries. The large number of references mentioned indicates that extensive research is being conducted in this area and that the book presents detailed and comprehensive coverage. This field of study has developed relatively recently. This is reflected in the fact that 600 of the references listed were published in the 1990s, and 86 of them appeared in the 1980s.

Chapter 2 provides examples of applications of fiber optics for integrated structural monitoring in several industries. Chapters 3-7 deal with the various pieces of hardware: light sources, detectors, optical fibers, and sensors. Each time, the basic principle of operation is described and applications are presented. Chapters 8-12 cover implementation issues such as installation and materials integration, and multiplexed and distributed sensing.

For this book, the objectives stated in the preface are: to introduce fiber optic structural sensing to those interested in learning what is possible with this new technology; to serve as a primer for understanding the basics of the technology; and to provide an insight into its capability. Those objectives have been met very successfully while avoiding some common problems with this type of book. While a large number of references are cited, the book does not read like a literature survey. A large number of applications are mentioned, but each one is selected to illustrate a particular point, is described in enough detail, and is woven into the narrative so that the reader does not get the feeling of going through a list of examples. Many equations and theoretical developments are provided, but the book does not feel like a textbook on optics or applied mathematics. Many pieces of hardware are mentioned, but the book does not resemble a manufacturer’s catalogue. All of this means that the author managed to strike a good balance between the different elements needed to cover the subject in a comprehensive fashion.

The author does not explicitly define the intended audience for this book. It is written as a reference for those interested in structural monitoring with fiber optic technology. The book is focused on engineering applications as opposed to more fundamental science and, therefore, will appeal to engineers in a wide range of industries: civil engineers for monitoring bridges, aerospace engineers for monitoring the health of composite structures, and also engineers dealing with many other applications. The book is easily accessible for engineers and managers who simply need to know what this technology is, how it works, and what can be done with it. In that case, some of the more mathematical aspects of the book can be skipped over. The book can also be used for more in-depth study for those planning to use the technology and become specialists. A third audience consists of graduate students and researchers because this book presents the current state of the art for this technology. A basic background in strength of materials, experimental stress analysis, and composite materials would be helpful to appreciate the contents of the book.

The book is very well produced with many illustrations and is easy to read. A few typographical errors have been noticed, but they do not cause undue distractions. The writing style is such that the book is easy to read, the interest of the reader is always kept up, and the significance of each development is always made clear. Structural Monitoring with Fiber Optic Technology makes a unique contribution by being the first to describe a new area in a comprehensive manner while being accessible to many. It is highly recommended for engineering libraries and for individuals interested in learning about this new technology.