A distributed fluid level sensor suitable for monitoring fuel load on board a moving fuel tank

John W. Arkwright, Luke A. Parkinson, Anthony W. Papageorgiou

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A temperature insensitive fiber Bragg grating sensing array has been developed for monitoring fluid levels in a moving tank. The sensors are formed from two optical fibers twisted together to form a double helix with pairs of fiber Bragg gratings located above one another at the points where the fibers are vertically disposed. The sensing mechanism is based on a downwards deflection of the section of the double helix containing the FBGs which causes the tension in the upper FBG to decrease and the tension in the lower FBG to increase with concomitant changes in Bragg wavelength in each FBG. Changes in ambient temperature cause a common mode increase in Bragg wavelength, thus monitoring the differential change in wavelength provides a temperature independent measure of the applied pressure. Ambient temperature can be monitored simultaneously by taking the average wavelength of the upper and lower FBGs.
The sensors are able to detect variations in pressure with resolutions better than 1 mmH2O and when placed on the bottom of a tank can be used to monitor fluid level based on the recorded pressure. Using an array of these sensors located along the bottom of a moving tank it was possible to monitor the fluid level at multiple points and hence dynamically track the total fluid volume in the tank.
The outer surface of the sensing array is formed from a thin continuous Teflon sleeve, making it suitable for monitoring the level of volatile fluids such as aviation fuel and gasoline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105390D-1-105390D-6
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number105390D
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventPhotonic Instrumentation Engineering V 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 27 Jan 20181 Feb 2018
Conference number: Volume 10539


  • distributed sensing
  • fiber Bragg gratings
  • fiber optic sensing
  • force
  • level sensing
  • pressure
  • temperature compensation


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