Previous methods of measuring high velocities, e.g., during electromagnetic forming (EMF) and magnetic pulse welding processes where the workpiece is deforming, include photon Doppler velocimetry (PDV), laser micrometers, and high speed photography. In this paper, an alternative method is presented, implementing a fiber optic, reflectance dependent sensor. The sensor is shown to be an attractive, low purchase cost solution to measure high velocities. Data are shown with respect to sensor characterization including various surface reflectivity values, curvatures, and misalignments; implementation in two EMF/welding processes; and verification with high velocity PDV measurements. The sensor system is one twentieth the purchase cost of a PDV system, and yet measures velocities accurately (using PDV measurements as the reference) to at least 150 m/s provided that local curvature is not extreme and the displacement is less than approximately 27 mm. Sensor performance is also enhanced by the use of retroreflective tape, which is shown to increase the displacement range by 9×, decrease sensitivity to misalignment, and increase repeatability and ease of implementation.

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