Alternatives to Fiber Optic Connectors (2015-442)
- Penn State Electro-Optics Center (EOC)
- General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
- Ingalls Shipbuilding
- Kitco Fiber Optics
- Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NWSCDD)
NSRP ASE Investment: $150K
The objective of this project was to increase the number of situations in which fiber optic fusion splices could be utilized in shipbuilding to replace fiber optic connectors. Due to instability and the need for extreme cleanliness, it is recommended that fiber optic connectors be used only in applications where frequent mating and de-mating are required. The project team investigated several splicing technologies as replacement candidates. To test their durability in rugged environments, fusion splices were left un-secured inside enclosures and tested at 120 percent of commercial vibration and shock limits. Fluctuations in optical performance were negligible. The project team determined that use of fusion splices in lieu of fiber optic connectors provides savings in excess of 70% per connection, and avoids the following costs associated with fiber optic connectors:
- The cost of managing thousands of connector components and spares.
- Craftsmanship required for terminus and connector assembly.
- Concern for end face inspection for quality and geometry.
- Concern for epoxy shelf life and curing.
- Field maintenance for permanent fiber optic connections
Final Report – Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited