Increasingly, pipelines in unstable terrain are being monitored as a supplement to design stage integrity measures. The quantities monitored most often in this case are strains and displacements. A variety of techniques are being used and considered to assure the monitored quantities are kept within allowable limits.

This paper reviews the potential use of distributed fiber optic sensor technology for direct strain measurement in long, lineal structures such as newly constructed pipeline systems. The components of an opto-electronic system are described. Methods of attaching the fiber optic sensors to pipelines are reviewed. Data from large scale laboratory pipeline-deflection tests are presented.

Utilizing the inherent low loss of optical fibres and "optical radar" techniques, the passive distributed optical system described in this paper is shown to hold promise for high cost effectiveness in practical applications.

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