This article presents an application of an active all-optical photoacoustic sensing system with four elements for steel rebar corrosion monitoring. The sensor utilized a photoacoustic mechanism of gold nanocomposites to generate 8 MHz broadband ultrasound pulses in 0.4 mm compact space. A nanosecond 532 nm pulsed laser and 400 μm multimode fiber were employed to incite an ultrasound reaction. The fiber Bragg gratings were used as distributed ultrasound detectors. Accelerated corrosion testing was applied to four sections of a single steel rebar with four different corrosion degrees. Our results demonstrated that the mass loss of steel rebar displayed an exponential growth with ultrasound frequency shifts. The sensitivity of the sensing system was such that 0.175 MHz central frequency reduction corresponded to 0.02 g mass loss of steel rebar corrosion. It was proved that the all-optical photoacoustic sensing system can actively evaluate the corrosion of steel rebar via ultrasound spectrum. This multipoint all-optical photoacoustic method is promising for embedment into a concrete structure for distributed corrosion monitoring.
Keywords: FBG; distributed sensing; gold nanocomposites; photoacoustic principle; rebar corrosion monitoring.