Numerical investigation of fibre-optic sensing for sinkhole detection

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jats:p This paper forms part of the SINEW (sinkhole early warning) project and continues the work conducted by Möller and co-workers in 2022, where 1g experiments demonstrated the feasibility of using distributed fibre-optic sensing (DFOS) for sinkhole early warning. Their experimental campaign highlighted an order of magnitude difference in the strain between the soil and the cable that remains unexplained and weakens confidence in the technology and/or the experimental method. This paper uses three-dimensional finite-element analyses to examine further this discrepancy and the soil–cable interface. The results support the experimental findings and demonstrate that the DFOS signature strain profile is induced by the horizontal movement of the ground, and enhanced when sufficient coupling at the soil–cable interface is achieved. This result holds when modelling is scaled to realistic confining pressure, and its significance is twofold. First, this needs to be accounted for in the DFOS laying technique. Second, particles of cohesionless soils undergo relatively high horizontal displacement away from the centre of the sinkhole, and this means that DFOS cables are able to detect subsidence away from the centre of the sinkhole. The paper illustrates this result and the signature strain profile expected in this case. </jats:p>

Ground movements, Fibre optic Monitoring, Finite Element analysis, Geohazards
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Thomas Telford Ltd.