Fiber optic technology is a quickly developing, robust, and effective system. Fiber optic systems provide numerous benefits for radio and electronic systems. The thing is that optical fibers used in these systems are light-weight, they have a pretty low cost and very compact size than their copper opponents. Additionally, optical fibers and systems based on them are immune to electromagnetic interference leading to high robustness and safety.
It should be noted that the first fiber optic system for communication has been created in the 1970s. Those optical fibers have pretty low losses, and they help to send data information without amplifiers for tens of kilometers. Herewith, the creation of quartz optical fibers greatly promotes the development of various fiber optic cables, sensing systems, endoscopic fiber catheters, lasers, and other tools.
Moreover, these optical fibers can be used in aggressive conditions, for instance, they can operate at high humidity, temperature, and pressure. The widespread applications of fiber optic systems include the automotive and oil and gas industries, avionics, energy, and medicine.
First optical fibers had several disadvantages such as microcracks, irregularities, and defects that deteriorate the strength of the systems when it comes to dust or moisture environments. The development of protective coatings for fiber optic systems allowed researchers to overcome the challenge. The coating protects optical fibers from moisture, chemical, and mechanical damages.
Additionally, types of coatings identify the possible applications of fiber optic systems. The thing is that there are 3 types of coatings: metal, carbon, or polymer. Herewith, every coating of optical fibers has its fields of application as well as the temperature range of operation. To be more precise, the protective coating is regarded as a layer of polymers or even their combination.
The researchers claim that it is necessary to choose coating materials for optical fibers with appropriate characteristics for solving a specific task. Moreover, it should be mentioned that “as a result of prolonged heating at high temperatures polymer degradation can occur, which strongly affects the strength of the coating and optical fibers.”
Finally, traditional and modified acrylate coatings of fiber optic systems enable to employ optical fibers at temperatures less than 150°C, while silicon materials make it possible to enhance the operating temperature to 200°C. This is the main purpose for all researchers – to expand the applications of optical fibers by enhancing the operating temperature range (from negative temperatures to 300°C or above. Also, modern techniques allow for producing heat-resistant fiber optic cables that suppose short-term heating to ∼400°C.
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