Fuel level sensor based on polymer optical fiber Bragg gratings for aircraft applications

C. A. F. Marques, A. Pospori, D. Sáez-Rodríguez, Kristian Nielsen, Ole Bang, D. J. Webb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Safety in civil aviation is increasingly important due to the increase in flight routes and their more challenging nature. Like other important systems in aircraft, fuel level monitoring is always a technical challenge. The most frequently used level sensors in aircraft fuel systems are based on capacitive, ultrasonic and electric techniques, however they suffer from intrinsic safety concerns in explosive environments combined with issues relating to reliability and maintainability. In the last few years, optical fiber liquid level sensors (OFLLSs) have been reported to be safe and reliable and present many advantages for aircraft fuel measurement. Different OFLLSs have been developed, such as the pressure type, float type, optical radar type, TIR type and side-leaking type. Amongst these, many types of OFLLSs based on fiber gratings have been demonstrated. However, these sensors have not been commercialized because they exhibit some drawbacks: low sensitivity, limited range, long-term instability, or limited resolution. In addition, any sensors that involve direct interaction of the optical field with the fuel (either by launching light into the fuel tank or via the evanescent field of a fiber-guided mode) must be able to cope with the potential build up of contamination – often bacterial – on the optical surface. In this paper, a fuel level sensor based on microstructured polymer optical fiber Bragg gratings (mPOFBGs), including poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and TOPAS fibers, embedded in diaphragms is investigated in detail. The mPOFBGs are embedded in two different types of diaphragms and their performance is investigated with aviation fuel for the first time, in contrast to our previous works, where water was used. Our new system exhibits a high performance when compared with other previously published in the literature, making it a potentially useful tool for aircraft fuel monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Spie
Number of pages8
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2016
Article number98860W
ISBN (Print)9781510601314
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventMicro-Structured and Specialty Optical Fibres IV - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 3 Apr 20163 Apr 2016


ConferenceMicro-Structured and Specialty Optical Fibres IV
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering


  • Fibre optic sensors; fibre gyros
  • Other fibre optical devices and techniques
  • Spatial variables measurement
  • Optical polymers and other organic optical materials
  • Gratings, echelles
  • Fibre optic sensors
  • Level, flow and volume measurement
  • Aerospace instrumentation and equipment
  • Optical materials
  • aircraft
  • Bragg gratings
  • diaphragms
  • fibre optic sensors
  • fuel
  • fuel systems
  • level measurement
  • optical polymers
  • optical radar
  • water
  • fuel level sensor
  • civil aviation
  • flight routes
  • fuel level monitoring
  • aircraft fuel systems
  • capacitive techniques
  • ultrasonic techniques
  • electric techniques
  • explosive environments
  • reliability
  • maintainability
  • optical fiber liquid level sensors
  • aircraft fuel measurement
  • pressure type
  • float type
  • optical radar type
  • TIR type
  • side-leaking type
  • long-term instability
  • limited resolution
  • optical field
  • fuel tank
  • evanescent field
  • fiber-guided mode
  • contamination
  • optical surface
  • microstructured polymer optical fiber Bragg gratings
  • mPOFBG
  • poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • PMMA fibers
  • TOPAS fibers
  • aviation fuel
  • aircraft fuel monitoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Fuel level sensor based on polymer optical fiber Bragg gratings for aircraft applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this