Advantages of Plastic Fiber | disadvantages of Plastic Fiber

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Plastic Optical Fiber (POF). It mentions Plastic Fiber advantages or benefits and Plastic Fiber disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is Plastic Fiber?

• The optical fiber in which both core and cladding regions are made by plastic or polymeric materials is known as plastic fiber. It is also known as "all plastic fiber".
• Such fibers are prepared by using simple liquid phase double crucible method.

Plastic Fiber structure

• Polystyrene (PS) as core material (with refractive index of about 1.59) and Polymethyl methacrylate (PAMA) as cladding material (with refractive index of about 1.49) provide best results as plastic fiber. This is due to their properties such as PMMA offers better mechanical properties and high resistive quality against degradation or chemical attack. PS material offers relatively less absorption loss compare to other polymeric materials.
• The figure-1 depicts basic structure of plastic fiber.
• All plastic fibers are preferred for short distance (< 100 meters) and low signal transmission (~ few Mbps) systems. They are also used as all plastic strain sensors, as acoustic sensors etc. They are primarily used in medical and automotive industries.

Benefits or advantages of Plastic Fiber

Following are the benefits or advantages of Plastic Fiber:
➨It has lower production and packaging costs.
➨It is soft and non-brittle. Hence it offers greater bending without much cracks. Moreover it can be cut with an ordinary razer.
➨It does not have any emissions. Moreover it is immune to noise. Hence it can be run along side of power cables.
➨It is more rugged and more flexible. Hence it is easier to install them.
➨It is light in weight.
➨It can withstand stress.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Plastic Fiber

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Plastic Fiber:
➨Signal attenuation and dispersion are very high. Hence they are not useful for long distance communication systems.
➨Refractive index of core and cladding part varies rapidly at higher temperature. Hence NA and mode pattern of the plastic fiber deviates.
➨It offers low quality compare to glass optical fiber.
➨It is flammable and hence need to be used in selected applications after proper analysis.

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