In this study, the development of embedded fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor networks within composite materials is investigated. Various densities of optical fibers were embedded within two-dimensional woven composite laminates, and low-velocity impact damage responses were evaluated to determine the effects on the mechanical behavior of the laminates. The woven composites were subjected to multiple strikes at 2 m/s until perforation occurred, and the impactor position and acceleration were monitored throughout each event. From these measurements, we obtained dissipated energies and contact forces for specimens with and without embedded optical fibers. Cross sectional optical micrographs of the specimens were also used to determine the local effects of the embedded fibers on neighboring fibers and the surrounding matrix material, both before and after impact events. Multiple FBG sensors were serially multiplexed together to create a single fiber sensing network capable of monitoring damage for each impact event. Residual strain information was gathered through strain distributions along the FBG sensors to map out the near-field and far-field regions with respect to the impact location. The resulting data will be used to better monitor and predict damage in the composite system when combined with global response data from the laminate itself.

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