An FBG based smart clamp for the detection of incipient clamp looseness in industrial piping system

Zechao Wang, Mingyao Liu, Zude Zhou, Yongzhi Qu, Qin Wei, Liu Hong, Feng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Distributed block clamps are widely used in hydraulic piping systems. However, due to wear and tear over time, the clamps may loosen, and if not detected in the early stages, it can lead to the catastrophic results. The common methods to detect the clamp looseness are based on the monitoring the pre-load of the connected bolts. The Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors, as the emerging sensing technology with anti-electromagnetic interference, small size and lightweight, easy to install, corrosion resistant, durable, cost effective and multiplexed properties has been used to design smart bolts and smart washers in the existed literatures recently. However, the distributed features of the smart bolts are limited to the through-hole structures and the smart washer can only be used to the bolted connections with big-diameter bolts, which makes the smart bolts and washers difficult to apply to distributed clamp bolted with small-diameter bolts. Therefore, an FBG based smart clamp is presented for the first time in this paper. The theoretical models, i.e. the analytical model and Finite Element Model (FEM) are developed to derive the measurement principle and optimize the structure of the clamp. The calibration experiments of the smart clamp are conducted to obtain the sensitivity of the smart clamp. Subsequently, a practical application, i.e. clamp looseness detection, is given in an industrial piping system which shows that the smart clamp is high sensitive to the incipient looseness of the clamp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-426
Number of pages11
JournalMeasurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is partially supported by Natural Science Foundation of China under project No. 51505353 and No. 51605349 .


  • FBG sensing technology
  • Incipient looseness detection
  • Industrial application
  • Smart clamp

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