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Pressure Load Torque Acceleration Displacement Instrumentation

Frequently Asked Questions

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Table of Contents

T AB L E O F C O N T E N T S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 AC C E L E R O M E T E R S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 HOW DOES A PIEZO-ELECTRIC ACCELEROMETER WORK? ......................................................... 6 WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ACCELEROMETER? ........................................................ 6 WHAT IS A SINGLE ENDED COMPRESSION ACCELEROMETER? ................................................... 7 WHAT IS AN ISOLATED COMPRESSION ACCELEROMETER? ........................................................ 7 WHAT IS A SHEAR TYPE ACCELEROMETER? ......................................................................... 8 WHAT IS A PIEZO-RESISTIVE ACCELEROMETER? ................................................................... 8 WHAT IS A STRAIN GAGE BASED ACCELEROMETER? ............................................................... 9 WHAT IS THE USEABLE FREQUENCY RANGE? ....................................................................... 9 WHAT IS AN IEPE ACCELEROMETER?...............................................................................10 WHAT IS AN ICP ACCELEROMETER? ................................................................................11 WHAT IS A CHARGE OUTPUT ACCELEROMETER?...................................................................11 WHAT IS THE NATURAL FREQUENCY OF AN ACCELEROMETER? .................................................11 WHAT IS THE MOUNTED NATURAL FREQUENCY? ...................................................................12 WHAT IS BASE STRAIN SENSITIVITY? ................................................................................13 WHAT IS CROSS SENSITIVITY OR TRANSVERSE SENSITIVITY? .................................................. 13 WHAT IS DYNAMIC RANGE? ............................................................................................14 WHAT IS AMPLITUDE LINEARITY? .....................................................................................14 WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN QUARTZ CRYSTAL BASED AND CERAMIC CRYSTAL BASED ACCELEROMETERS?.....................................................................................................15 HOW DO I MOUNT AN ACCELEROMETER? ...........................................................................15 WHAT IS A QUICKFIT MOUNT? .........................................................................................17 WHEN SHOULD I USE A VELOCITY OUTPUT ACCELEROMETER? .................................................17 WHAT SIGNAL CONDITIONING DO I NEED FOR MY ACCELEROMETER? .........................................18 WHAT ARE GROUND ISOLATED ACCELEROMETERS? ..............................................................19 WHAT IS AN ISOLATED STUD?.........................................................................................22 HOW DO I INSTALL A CHARGE AMPLIFIER? .........................................................................22 WHAT IS THE TRIBO-ELECTRIC EFFECT?............................................................................23 HOW DO I CHOOSE THE SENSITIVITY OF AN ACCELEROMETER? ................................................24 WHAT IS THE OUTPUT OF AN IEPE ACCELEROMETER? ..........................................................24 WHAT IS AN FFT? ......................................................................................................24 WHAT IS CONDITION MONITORING? ..................................................................................25 WHAT FREQUENCY RESPONSE DO I WANT FROM MY ACCELEROMETER? ......................................25 WHAT TYPE OF ACCELEROMETER BEST SUITS MY APPLICATION? ..............................................28 C AL I B R AT I O N . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 9 WHY SHOULD I CALIBRATE?...........................................................................................30 WHAT IS NIST? .........................................................................................................30 WHAT IS A NIST TRACEABLE CALIBRATION? ......................................................................30 CAN A LOAD CELL BE MADE TRACEABLE TO NIST? ...............................................................31 CAN AN ORGANIZATION BE NIST TRACEABLE? ....................................................................31 WHAT IS A2LA OR NVLAP ACCREDITATION? .....................................................................32 WHAT IS UNCERTAINTY? ...............................................................................................32 WHEN IS UNCERTAINTY IMPORTANT? ................................................................................32 HOW IS UNCERTAINTY MEASURED? ..................................................................................33 C AL I B R AT I O N C L AS S L O AD C E L L S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 4 WHAT DOES A LOAD CELL CALIBRATION CONSIST OF? ...........................................................35 WHAT LOAD CELL CALIBRATION STANDARD SHOULD I ADOPT? .................................................35 WHAT ARE IMPORTANT PARAMETERS FOR A CALIBRATION CLASS LOAD CELL? ..............................35 WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A LOW UNCERTAINTY CALIBRATION CLASS LOAD CELL? ..........36 WHY DOES A CALIBRATION CLASS LOAD CELL HAVE A BASE PLATE AND A CALIBRATION ADAPTER? ....36 WHAT IS THE UNCERTAINTY OF A SENSOTEC LOAD CELL? ......................................................37 WHAT UNCERTAINTY SHOULD MY CALIBRATION REFERENCE LOAD CELL HAVE? .............................37

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DOES A LOAD CELL HAVE TO BE CALIBRATED WITH ITS DISPLAY? .............................................38 WHAT DOES THE ASTM E74 STANDARD SPECIFICALLY SAY ABOUT CALIBRATION CLASS LOAD CELLS? .............................................................................................................................38 G E N E R AL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 0 HOW DO I KNOW WHAT ACCURACY CLASS TO USE FOR MY SENSOR? .........................................41 WHAT IS SENSITIVITY? ................................................................................................41 WHAT IS NON-LINEARITY? ............................................................................................43 WHAT IS HYSTERESIS? ................................................................................................46 WHAT IS STATIC ERROR BAND? .....................................................................................46 WHAT IS CALIBRATION FACTOR? ....................................................................................47 WHEN SHOULD I FIT A CONNECTOR OR INTEGRAL CABLE? ....................................................48 WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBMERSIBLE AND WATERPROOF? ...................................50 WHAT ARE NEMA AND IP DEFINITIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION?..............................51 L O AD C E L L S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3 WHAT IS OVERLOAD PROTECTION ON A LOAD CELL? ............................................................54 WHAT IS A COMPRESSION ONLY LOAD CELL?.....................................................................55 WHAT IS A TENSION ONLY LOAD CELL? ............................................................................56 WHAT IS A TENSION AND COMPRESSION ONLY LOAD CELL? ...................................................58 WHAT IS A ROD END BEARING? ......................................................................................58 WHAT IS A LOAD BUTTON? ............................................................................................59 WHAT IS LOAD CELL SYMMETRY? ...................................................................................60 WHAT IS ZERO BALANCE FOR A LOAD CELL?.......................................................................61 WHAT IS ZERO BALANCE TEMPERATURE EFFECT? ................................................................62 WHAT IS OUTPUT SPAN TEMPERATURE EFFECT? .................................................................63 WHEN SHOULD I HAVE ZERO AND SPAN ADJUSTMENTS ON MY LOAD CELL?.................................65 WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF HAVING A SENSOR INTERNAL AMPLIFIER ON A LOAD CELL? ..............................................................................................................66 WHY IS THE OUTPUT OF MY PRESSURE DETECTOR QUOTED IN MV/V? ........................................69 HOW DO I KNOW WHAT ACCURACY CLASS TO USE FOR MY SENSOR? .........................................70 HOW DOES TEMPERATURE AFFECT A LOAD CELL? ...............................................................71 HOW DO YOU COMPENSATE FOR TEMPERATURE IN A LOAD CELL? .............................................71 WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION RANGE? ...........................................................71 WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE OPERATING RANGE? ................................................................71 HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT FULL SCALE OUTPUT FOR A LOAD CELL? ..........................................72 WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF DYNAMIC LOADS ON A LOAD CELL?...................................................72 HOW DOES A LOAD CELL WORK? .....................................................................................73 WHAT LOAD RANGE SHOULD I CHOSE FOR A LOAD CELL? .......................................................73 WHAT THINGS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN MOUNTING A LOAD CELL? ...................................74 PRESSURE SENSORS.................................................................................................76 HOW DOES A BONDED FOIL STRAIN GAGE-BASED PRESSURE SENSOR WORK? ...........................77 HOW DOES A SILICON-BASED PRESSURE SENSOR WORK? ....................................................78 WHAT ARE ADVANTAGES BETWEEN BONDED FOIL STRAIN GAGE-BASED AND SILICON-BASED PRESSURE SENSORS? .................................................................................................79 WHAT IS A GAGE PRESSURE SENSOR? .............................................................................79 WHAT IS A TRUE GAGE PRESSURE SENSOR? .....................................................................80 WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTE PRESSURE SENSOR? .....................................................................81 WHEN SHOULD I USE AN ABSOLUTE PRESSURE SENSOR RATHER THAN A GAGE PRESSURE SENSOR? .. 82 WHAT IS A DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE SENSOR? ..................................................................83 WHAT IS A VACUUM PRESSURE SENSOR? .........................................................................83 WHAT IS A BAROMETRIC PRESSURE SENSOR? ....................................................................84 WHICH PRESSURE REFERENCE SHOULD I USE FOR MY APPLICATION? .......................................85 WHAT IS OVERLOAD PROTECTION ON A PRESSURE SENSOR? .................................................86 WHAT CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD I MAKE WHEN MOUNTING A PRESSURE SENSOR? ........................87 HOW CAN I PROTECT AGAINST WATER HAMMER? .................................................................88 WHAT IS ZERO BALANCE FOR A PRESSURE TRANSDUCER? ......................................................89 WHAT IS ZERO BALANCE TEMPERATURE EFFECT? ................................................................90 WHAT IS OUTPUT SPAN TEMPERATURE EFFECT? .................................................................92 WHEN SHOULD I HAVE ZERO AND SPAN ADJUSTMENTS ON MY PRESSURE DETECTOR? ...................94 WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF HAVING A SENSOR INTERNAL AMPLIFIER ON A PRESSURE DETECTOR?.................................................................................................95

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WHY

IS THE OUTPUT OF MY PRESSURE DETECTOR QUOTED IN MV/V? ........................................97

TORQUE SENSORS .................................................................................................. 100 WHAT IS TORQUE? .................................................................................................... 101 WHAT IS REACTION TORQUE? ....................................................................................... 101 WHAT IS ROTARY TORQUE? ......................................................................................... 102 HOW DO YOU MEASURE ROTARY TORQUE? ....................................................................... 102 HOW DO ROTARY TORQUE SENSORS WORK? ..................................................................... 103 WHEN SHOULD I CHOOSE AN IN-LINE SENSOR? ................................................................. 105 WHEN SHOULD I CHOOSE A CLAMP ON COLLAR? ................................................................ 105 WHEN SHOULD I STRAIN GAGE MY SHAFT AS MY TORQUE TRANSDUCER? .................................. 106 WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE VARIOUS FORMS OF TORQUE MEASUREMENT? .. 107

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ACCELEROMETERS

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HOW

D O E S A P I E Z O - E L E C T R I C AC C E L E R O M E T E R W O R K ?

Piezo-electric crystals are man-made or naturally occurring crystals that produce a charge output when they are compressed, flexed or subjected to shear forces. The word piezo is a corruption of the Greek word for squeeze. In a piezo-electric accelerometer a mass is attached to a piezo-electric crystal, which is in turn mounted to the case of the accelerometer. When the body of the accelerometer is subjected to vibration the mass mounted on the crystal wants to stay still in space due to inertia and so compresses and stretches the piezo electric crystal. This force causes a charge to be generated and due to Newton law F=ma this force is in turn proportional to acceleration. The charge output is either is converted to a low impedance voltage output by the use of integral electronics (example: in an IEPE accelerometer) or made available as a charge output (Pico-coulombs /g) in a charge output piezo-electric accelerometer.

W H AT

AR E T H E D I F F E R E N T T Y P E S O F AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

There are many different type of accelerometers and each has unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. The different types include: Different technologies Piezo-electric accelerometers Piezo-resistive accelerometers Strain gage based accelerometers Different output accelerometers Charge output IEPE output (2-wire voltage) Voltage output (3 wire) 4-20mA output Velocity output accelerometers Different designs of accelerometer Shear type design
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Single ended compression design Isolated compression Inverted compression Flexural design

W H AT

I S A S I N G L E E N D E D C O M P R E S S I O N AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

A single ended compression accelerometer is where the crystal is mounted to the base of the accelerometer and the mass is mounted to the crystal by a setscrew, bolt or fastener.

A single ended compression accelerometer

W H AT

I S AN I S O L AT E D C O M P R E S S I O N AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

Single ended compression accelerometers can be susceptible to base strain and so to alleviate this problem the crystal is isolated from the base by mounting on an isolation washer or by reducing the mounting area by which the crystal is mounted to the base.

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Isolated compression accelerometers

W H AT

I S A S H E AR T Y P E AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

A shear type accelerometer is where the seismic mass is attached to the crystal so that it exerts a shear load on the crystal rather than a compressive load. Shear type accelerometers are designed for applications that are likely to encounter significant base distortion from thermal transients or where they are mounted onto flexible structures.

Shear type piezo-electric accelerometer

W H AT

I S A P I E Z O - R E S I S T I V E AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

A piezo-resistive accelerometer is an accelerometer that uses a piezo-resistive substrate in place of the piezo electric crystal and the force exerted by the seismic mass changes the resistance of the etched bridge network and a whetstone bridge network detects this. Piezo-resistive accelerometers have the advantage over piezo-electric accelerometers in that they can measure accelerations down to zero Hertz.

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W H AT

I S A S T R AI N G AG E B AS E D AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

A strain gauged based accelerometer is based on detecting the deflection of a seismic mass by using a silicon or foil strain gauged element. A whetstone bridge network detects the deflection. The deflection is directly proportional to the acceleration applied to the sensor. Like the piezo-resistive accelerometer it has a frequency response down to zero Hz.

W H AT

I S T H E U S E AB L E F R E Q U E N C Y R AN G E ?

For an accelerometer to be useful the output needs to be directly proportional to the acceleration that it is measuring. This fixed ratio of output to input is only true for a range of frequencies as described by the frequency response curve.

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Typical Piezo-electric frequency response curve. The usable frequency response is the flat area of the frequency response curve and extends to approximately 1/3 to of the natural frequency. The definition of flat also needs to be qualified and is done so by quoting the roll off of the curve in either percentage terms (typically 5% or 10%) or in dB terms (typically +/- 3db)

W H AT

I S AN

IEPE

AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

IEPE stands for Integrated Electronics Piezo Electric and defines a class of accelerometer that has built in electronics. Specifically it defines a class of accelerometer that has low impedance output electronics that works on a two wire constant current supply with an voltage output on a DC voltage bias. IEPE two wire accelerometers are easy to install, have a wide frequency response, can run over long cable lengths and are relatively cheap to purchase. The IEPE technology has generally replaced most 3 wire accelerometers and is broadly used for most applications except for specialist applications such as zero Hz
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accelerometers, high temperature applications or 4-20mA accelerometers used in the process industries.

W H AT

I S AN

ICP

AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

ICP is the trademarked PCB name for IEPE accelerometers. It stands for Integrated circuit-piezo electric

W H AT

I S A C H AR G E O U T P U T AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

All piezo-electric accelerometers work by measuring the charge generated by a crystal that is being compressed or shear loaded by a mass influenced by acceleration. In most applications this high impedance charge output is converted to a low impedance voltage output by the use of integral electronics. However in some applications integral electronics are not appropriate such as high temperature or high radiation applications. Charge output accelerometers are self-generating and would typically have amplifying electronics mounted several feet away from the local heat or local radiation source.

W H AT

I S T H E N AT U R AL F R E Q U E N C Y O F AN AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

The natural frequency of an accelerometer is the frequency where the ratio of output is at it highest. The natural frequency of an accelerometer is defined by the equation

From a frequency roughly 1/3 to of the natural frequency the ratio of output to input becomes non-linear and therefore makes measurements from this region difficult to interpret. Therefore the higher the natural frequency of an accelerometer the higher frequencies where the output to input is linear and the higher the frequencies that can be measured.

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It can be seen from the formula for natural frequency that to increase the natural frequency the mass needs to be as small as possible and the stiffness needs to be as high as possible. A small mass usually means a lower sensitivity and this is true of most high frequency accelerometers.

W H AT

I S T H E M O U N T E D N AT U R AL F R E Q U E N C Y ?

An accelerometer has a different natural frequency when it is in free space to that when it is mounted. The only frequency that is of interest to the user is of course the mounted natural frequency and is often the one quoted in the specifications. The mounted natural frequency is of course dependent on the stiffness of the mounting structure to which it is attached and is therefore quoted as the natural frequency of the accelerometer as installed according to manufacturers instructions. Gluing, magnetically mounting or loose bolting down to a surface will significantly reduce the mounted natural frequency.

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W H AT

I S B AS E S T R AI N S E N S I T I V I T Y ?

Base strain sensitivity is the erroneous signal that is generated by an accelerometer when the base is subjected to bending, torque or distortion either by mechanical movement or thermal stressing. The relative movement of the base of the accelerometer squeezes the crystal in an accelerometer and the seismic mass mounted on the crystal. Base strain is where the base distorts the mass while acceleration causes the seismic mass to distort the crystal. These two forces on the crystal are indistinguishable and so reduction of the base strain is vital for good signals only to be generated. The more indirectly that a crystal is mounted to the base under strain the less sensitive the accelerometer is to base strain. Single ended compression sensors are the most prone to base strain sensitivity and shear type accelerometers the least. Isolated compression accelerometers are a good compromise between have good base strain immunity and the disadvantages that shear type accelerometers bring in terms of sensitivity and robustness.

Base Strain Sensitivity

W H AT

I S C R O S S S E N S I T I V I T Y O R T R AN S V E R S E S E N S I T I V I T Y ?

An accelerometer produces a charge output when the crystal is compressed. That same crystal also produces a charge, albeit a much smaller one, when a shear load is exerted on the crystal. The accelerometer therefore produces a charge when it is vibrated in the axis 90 degrees to the main axis of measurement, which is indistinguishable from acceleration in the main axis. Conversely shear type accelerometers produce an erroneous signal when they experience cross axis acceleration only this time it loads the crystal in compressive mode.

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Cross axis sensitivity The sensitivity of the accelerometer to a transverse vibration is known as the transverse sensitivity and is typically less than 5% of the sensitivity to an on axis acceleration.

W H AT

I S D Y N AM I C R AN G E ?

The dynamic range of an accelerometer is the range between the smallest acceleration detectable by the accelerometer to the largest. A piezo-electric accelerometer produces a charge proportional the force applied to the crystal, which due to the seismic mass on the crystal is proportional to acceleration applied. The piezo electric effect can be detected for very small forces or accelerations all the way through to very large accelerations. In most cases the smallest acceleration is dictated by the amplifying electronics noise floor and for high g levels to the voltage rail used by the power supply. The design of the accelerometer will also play a part in what shock g levels an accelerometer can withstand before the crystal is irreparably damaged or the structure holding the crystal is distorted. Compression accelerometers are the most shock resistant design of accelerometer. Accelerometers with integral electronics have a maximum output voltage determined by the circuit design and the input voltage. The maximum output for an IEPE accelerometer is typically 4-8 volt s. An accelerometer with a sensitivity of 100mV/g with electronics that has a maximum output of 5V will obviously have a dynamic range of +/- 50g while an accelerometer of sensitivity of 10mV/g will have a dynamic range of +/- 500g

W H AT

I S AM P L I T U D E L I N E AR I T Y ?

The amplitude linearity of an accelerometer is the degree of accuracy that an accelerometer reports the output in voltage terms as it moves from being excited at the smallest detectable acceleration levels to the highest. This
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accuracy is qualified by the linearity. Typically the amplitude linearity is 1%. The dynamic range describes the minimum to maximum accelerations that can be detected. The output of an IEPE accelerometer can typically go from 100 micro g to 500g. This dynamic range is dependent on the electronics used with the accelerometer either internal or external, as is the output linearity over the dynamic range.

W H AT AR E T H E D I F F E R E N C E S B E T W E E N Q U AR T Z C R Y S T AL B AS E D AN D C E R AM I C C R Y S T AL B AS E D AC C E L E R O M E T E R S ?

Ceramic Crystals Man made piezo electric crystals Higher output sensitivity Less expensive Higher pyro-electric effect at elevated temperatures Higher crystal decay rates at elevated temperatures Lower temperature of operation

Quartz Crystals Natural piezo electric crystals Lower output sensitivity More expensive Lower pyro-electric effect at elevated temperatures No crystal decay rates with time or temperature Higher temperature operation

HOW

DO

M O U N T AN AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

The mounting of an accelerometer affects its frequency response. The mounted natural frequency is dependent directly on the stiffness of the mounting. The higher the stiffness the more the mounted natural frequency approaches its maximum. The least stiff mounting of an accelerometer is magnetic mounting and the highest stiffness is using a high tensile setscrew tightened to the correct torque mounted on a hard flat surface. Other mounting methods come in between these two extremes.

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It is important to ensure that the site chosen for the accelerometer is ground flat for at least an area larger than the base of the accelerometer. A slight smear of Silicone grease will ensure a stiff bond between accelerometer and structure.

Surface preparation and set screw installation When using a mounting stud it is important to ensure that the stud does not bottom out in either the base of the accelerometer or the drilled location hole. High tensile strength set screws that have a shoulder will prevent this eventuality from happening.

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Incorrectly mounted accelerometer

W H AT

IS A QUICKFIT MOUNT?

A quickfit mount is used in installations where the accelerometer will be removed between monitoring the acceleration or velocity vibration yet will be repeatedly place back in the same location. Such installations include machine health monitoring using data collectors.

Quickfit mounting for an accelerometer

WHEN

SHOULD

U S E A V E L O C I T Y O U T P U T AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

Velocity output accelerometers are usually used in condition monitoring applications where velocity is a much better parameter for judging the health of a machine. Doubling of velocity vibration equates to a doubling of the deterioration of the health of the machine. Velocity can also be used in lower frequency applications where the acceleration amplitude of vibration is too small to measure and the velocity vibration maybe of a higher and more
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meaningful value. Velocity vibration accelerometers are only really effective if the frequency of vibration is higher than 2Hz but more ideally 5 Hz.

W H AT

S I G N AL C O N D I T I O N I N G D O

N E E D F O R M Y AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

All internally amplified accelerometers need a power supply be it a constant current IEPE supply, a 4-20mA loop, a 10V bridge excitation or a bipolar +/15V supply for a three wire accelerometer. The output of the accelerometer is now conditioned to an AC voltage whose amplitude is proportional to the amplitude of vibration with a frequency the same as the frequency of the vibration. An AC voltage signal needs further signal conditioning to retrieve any useful data. This signal conditioning takes three main forms: a) Overall voltage levels in either RMS or peak to peak b) Spectral content analysis c) Snap shot time domain analysis

Overall acceleration levels in RMS terms

Overall acceleration levels in Peak-Peak terms

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Breaking the acceleration signal into its frequency components

Viewing the acceleration signal on a storage scope or transient recorder

W H AT

AR E G R O U N D I S O L AT E D AC C E L E R O M E T E R S ?

Ground loops can be a significant problem to all type of sensors where the signal is un-amplified or the signal levels are low. Ground loops occur when different parts of the structure lab or building have different electrical grounds. These grounds may only differ by a few millivolts or less. When areas with different grounds are connected by sensor cables then unless measures are taken to prevent it a ground loop are set up in the cable that can be significant when compared to low level voltage signals that come from the sensor.

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Ground loops are often very difficult to detect so it is prudent to take precautions to prevent their effects. There are a number of ways that ground loops can be prevented. The first is to hard wire different parts of the structure to ensure that each area has exactly the same ground.

Preventing ground loops by ensuring all parts of structure have same ground Ensuring different parts of a plant have the same ground may not be so easy particularly when long distances are involved or structures carry noise generating machinery. In these cases it may be better not to eliminate ground loops but to prevent their effects influencing the sensor output. This can be achieved by mounting the accelerometer on an electrically isolated mounting stud. In this way the accelerometer sits on a locally constructed instrument

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ground and ensures that now ground loop exists between this and the measuring instrument.

Isolated mounting bases eliminate problems with ground loops The same effect as mounting the accelerometer on an electrically isolated mounting base can be achieved by isolating the accelerometer internals from the outer case of the accelerometer. This is done by the manufacturer. Mounting the accelerometer on an isolating base or internally isolating the accelerometer does reduce the stiffness of the accelerometer and therefore reduces the mounted natural frequency. It is for this reason that not all accelerometers come automatically with internal isolation.

Internally isolated accelerometers can prevent ground loops but have a reduced frequency response as a result
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W H AT

I S AN I S O L AT E D S T U D ?

An accelerometer isolated stud is used in application where the possibility for ground loops exists which can corrupt the output of the sensor. Isolated studs do reduce the frequency response of the accelerometer somewhat so caution should be taken if high frequency data needs to be measured.

HOW

DO

I N S T AL L A C H AR G E AM P L I F I E R ?

Charge output accelerometers are used in applications where: High temperatures environments are encountered High radiation environments are encountered Very high frequency accelerometers are used where no room exists for internal electronics Charge output accelerometers are self-generating and so no excitation is required but a local charge amplifier is used to convert the charge output to a voltage. The charge output accelerometers do however have high output impedance. This high output impedance makes them susceptible to noise, cable movement (tribo-electric effect) and low insulation resistance. To minimize these effects it is important to have; a charge amplifier-impedance converter mounted as close to the accelerometer as possible, prevent cable movement, use low noise co-axial cable and ensure all surfaces are kept clean and dry.

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Installing a charge output accelerometer and clamping low noise co-axial cable

Charge amplifier is located as close to accelerometer as possible but away from the hostile environment

W H AT

IS THE TRIBO-ELECTRIC EFFECT?

Tribo-electric effect is when a spurious signal is generated by a charge output accelerometer by the movement of the co-axial cable. To prevent the triboelectric effect the low noise cable needs to be clamped down as close to the accelerometer as possible. See How do I install a charge amplifier?

Tribo-electric effect

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HOW

DO

C H O O S E T H E S E N S I T I V I T Y O F AN AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

Accelerometers with integral electronics have a maximum output voltage determined by the circuit design and the input voltage. The maximum output for an IEPE accelerometer is typically 4-8 volt s. An accelerometer with a sensitivity of 100mV/g with electronics that has a maximum output of 5V will obviously have a dynamic range of +/- 50g while an accelerometer of sensitivity of 10mV/g will have a dynamic range of +/- 500g If the maximum g levels likely to be experienced is known then dividing this number by 5 volts will give the maximum sensitivity that should be used to get this dynamic range Example; Vibration expected to be seen is 300g. Sensitivity will be 5 divided by 200, which equals 16.6 mV/g. The nearest sensitivity would be a 10mV/g accelerometer.

W H AT

I S T H E O U T P U T O F AN

IEPE

AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

An IEPE accelerometer is a two-wire sensor that requires a constant current supply and outputs an AC voltage output on a DC voltage bias. The DC bias is often removed by the use of a decoupling capacitor.

W H AT

I S AN

FFT?

An FFT is short for Fast Fourier Transform and is an algorithm that is used to obtain frequency content data from time domain signal. Spectral analysis, frequency analysis are terms also used to describe obtaining frequency content data from time domain signals.

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W H AT

IS CONDITION MONITORING?

Condition monitoring is where the health of a rotating machine is monitored using vibration levels. As the health of a machine (example becomes unbalanced, fan blades corrode, bearing surfaces degrade) deteriorates so the amplitude of the vibration the machine generates increases. By monitoring the vibration levels over a long period of time this gradual deterioration of the health of the machine can be assessed until the vibration levels get to a point where the machine needs to be taken out of service and overhauled. Analysis of the frequency content of the machine vibration signal will indicate not only that the health of the machine has deteriorated but also root causes can be attributed to the problem. Example: An 8 bladed pump running at 6000 rpm (100Hz) will produce a vibration signal with 100 Hz frequency if it becomes unbalanced, 200 Hz if it becomes misaligned 800 Hz if the blades become corroded and 43-47 Hz if the bearings start to go into oil whirl.

W H AT

FREQUENCY RESPONSE DO

W AN T F R O M M Y AC C E L E R O M E T E R ?

The frequency response of the accelerometer needed for testing depends on what frequencies of vibration are required to be measured. An accelerometer should have a high enough natural frequency as to capture all the frequencies required to be measured.

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Natural frequency sufficiently high to capture all frequencies in signal Problems start to arise however when the vibration content of the acceleration to be measured gets close to the natural frequency of the accelerometer.

Frequencies to be measured approach the natural frequency of the accelerometer In these instances distortion of the acceleration by the high gains seen near the natural frequency can give a false picture of the reported acceleration amplitudes at high frequencies.

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Acceleration signal is misrepresented by non-unity gain of the higher frequencies To overcome this problem one of two things needs to happen: a higher frequency accelerometer needs to be used

A higher natural frequency accelerometer solves the problem of measuring high frequency accelerations If the higher frequencies are not required to be measured then using a low pass filter should filter them out.

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A low pass filter removes high frequency components of the measured signal

W H AT

T Y P E O F AC C E L E R O M E T E R B E S T S U I T S M Y AP P L I C AT I O N ?

Accelerometer Type Single ended compression Isolated base compression Shear

Advantages Robust Highest natural frequency High shock resistance Robust High natural frequency Best base strain performance Best temperature transients immunity Smallest size High temperature operation Suitable for radiation environments Small size Measures down to zero Hz Measures down to zero Hz High shock resistance

Disadvantages Poor base strain characteristics Better base strain performance Less robust Lower shock resistance Requires local charge amplifier Susceptible to triboelectric effect Limited high frequency response Limited high frequency response

Charge output Piezo-resistive Strain Gage based

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CALIBRATION

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WHY

SHOULD

C AL I B R AT E ?

Any measurement is subject to degradation due to use, abuse, drift or ageing. To understand this degradation calibration at regular intervals needs to be carried out to characterize the instrument after degradation, to restore the instrument to an as new condition as regards its measurement performance and to reference the measurement to National Standards. ISO9000 and many other standards specify the maximum period between recalibration as once every two years and more frequently if the instrument degradation is significant during that period. (Typically 1% degradation) Many users adopt an annual calibration as the standard interval between calibrations. Sensotec Note Many customers adopt the annual calibration but very few do a comparison between the current calibration and the previous calibration to ascertain the degree of degradation and determine a suitable re-calibration time period.

W H AT

IS

NIST?

NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is the US federal government agency responsible for the maintenance of National Standards.

W H AT

IS A

NIST

T R AC E AB L E C AL I B R AT I O N ?

A NIST traceable calibration means that the calibration can be traced by an unbroken chain of documented steps, comparisons and stated uncertainties right back to the national standards.

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C AN

A L O AD C E L L B E M AD E T R AC E AB L E T O

NIST?

No. Only the results produced by that load cell are traceable to NIST provided that the conditions under which the results are obtained are clearly understood and under control. For example if a load cell and signal conditioning are certified by NIST the readings taken by the load cell are not NIST traceable unless the way the measurements are taken is clearly understood and the conditions under which they are taken is under control.

C AN

AN O R G AN I Z AT I O N B E

NIST

T R AC E AB L E ?

No an organization cannot be NIST traceable. Only the results of the organization can be traceable

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W H AT

IS

A2LA

OR

NVLAP

AC C R E D I T AT I O N ?

In order to reduce the uncertainty of a load cells measurements or results the calibration needs to be carried out by a competent person using appropriate calibration equipment and adopting good calibration practices A2LA and NVLAP are two certifying bodies that audit companies against ISO17025, which is a standard that ensures competent people, carry out good calibration practices using good calibration equipment

W H AT

I S U N C E R T AI N T Y ?

Uncertainty is a tolerance band around any measurement result that indicates the range of results that would be reported if the test were carried out on infinitely accurate equipment using standards held at NIST or any other internationally recognized standards. Uncertainty is used to qualify measurements and their absolute accuracy and is expressed as a tolerance foe example: 422 lbf +/- 0.28 lbs. (+/- 0.28 is the uncertainty)

That means that if NIST standards were on infinitely accurate equipment that the results that would be reported would lie somewhere in the range of 400.28 lbf and 399.72 lbf. Uncertainty estimations are developed by very detailed mathematical analysis and by observations

WHEN

I S U N C E R T AI N T Y I M P O R T AN T ?

Uncertainty is important when carrying out critical absolute measurements and is not important when making relative measurements. When measuring breaking forces for seat belts it might well be important to know if it breaks at 740 lbs or 760lbs. If however measurements are being made on the force required to press fit gearbox bearings on an automotive production line the absolute value of the load may not be as important as to ensure that the same load is applied every time. When absolute measurements are stated they should always be qualified by adding the uncertainty example 28 lbf +/- 0.16 lbf or somewhere a qualification statement should be stated such as all readings have an uncertainty of 0.07%. Uncertainty is very important when calibrating load cells, as calibration is the time that a cell is checked on how it measures absolute loads and checked against national standards or loads that are traceable to national standards. Obviously a load cell that has an uncertainty of +/- 0.15lbf is better than a load cell that has an uncertainty of +/- 1.2 lbf. This might be because it is a better

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load cell or alternatively the load cell with the better uncertainty might just have been calibrated to a higher standard.

HOW

I S U N C E R T AI N T Y M E AS U R E D ?

Uncertainty is not measured but is estimated. Uncertainty estimations are developed by very detailed mathematical analysis and by observations. Uncertainty and its determination is a science all of its own and is often very difficult, complicated and time consuming. Many calibration labs employ people full time just to determine uncertainty of measurement results obtained within their facility. NIST recognizes two main methods of obtaining uncertainty. Method A Determined by analysis, measurements and observations of results. All the contributing elements that give rise to any error in measurement are measured and the standard deviation obtained. The measurement results of all the contributing components are then added together using the square root of the sum of the squares and an overall standard deviation determined. The overall uncertainty is then stated as either 2 times the standard deviation or 3 times the standard deviation. Method B Determination of the uncertainty by a theoretical and mathematical analysis rather than by observation. Sensotec Note All uncertainty measurements carried out at Sensotec are carried out using Method A

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CALIBRATION CLASS LOAD CELLS

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W H AT

D O E S A L O AD C E L L C AL I B R AT I O N C O N S I S T O F ?

There is no specific standard for load cell calibration except ASTM E74, which is targeted toward the force testing machines. A number of large companies and organizations such as Boeing and the USAF also have standards for load cell calibration. Standards such as ISO 17025 and Z54 lay out guidelines for calibration but do not specifically address load cells. As a result each manufacturer has their own standard of load cell calibration. However a typical calibration will indicate sensitivity while more comprehensive calibration might indicate linearity, error, best fit straight line hysteresis. A more elaborate calibration might calibrate the load cell in tension and compression and might use more data points. All calibrations should be traceable to NIST standards.

W H AT

L O AD C E L L C AL I B R AT I O N S T AN D AR D S H O U L D

AD O P T ?

Calibration costs time and money so it is important to adopt a standard that is comprehensive enough to cover the needs of the application but not so comprehensive that time and money is spent needlessly. The calibration should be comprehensive enough to ensure that the uncertainty is four times better than the system that is to be calibrated. If measuring the uncertainty is too cumbersome, too complex or insufficient time can be invested in the project then at least an appreciation of the uncertainty should be attempted. For example: If the test rig on which the load cell is being used can only consistently reproduce loads to an accuracy of 5lbs then a load cell calibration that ensures better than 1.25 lbs is likely to be sufficient.

W H AT

AR E I M P O R T AN T P AR AM E T E R S F O R A C AL I B R AT I O N C L AS S L O AD C E L L ?

Any load cell can be a calibration class load cell provided a) Its uncertainty is known b) It is used to calibrate load cells whose uncertainty only needs to be 4 x more (the generally accepted ratio) than this calibration standard c) It is only used over part of its measurement range (say 20% to 100%) which is dictated by the uncertainty of the cell For example A 1000 lb load cell with an uncertainty of 0.5 lbs (which means that if it measures a load and it indicates 760 lbs it could actually be anywhere between 759.5 lbs to 760.5 lbs.) Is used as a reference standard to calibrate other load cells provided that these cells under test are not required to report loads with a greater uncertainty of +/- 2 lbs. In addition this reference cell would not be able to carry out calibrations with loads less than 200 lbs. This lower limit is

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determined by multiplying the uncertainty by 400 for class A load cells and 2000 for class AA load cells.

W H AT

AR E T H E C H AR AC T E R I S T I C S O F A L O W U N C E R T AI N T Y C AL I B R AT I O N C L AS S L O AD C E L L ?

A low uncertainty calibration class load cell has the following attributes: a) The cell has a high repeatability (or a low repeatability error) b) The linearity curve is well known. (It does not have to be highly linear. It just has to be well known either as a polynomial curve or a look up table) c) The cell should have a low hysteresis d) The cell should have very low creep e) The cell should have low drift f) The cell should be calibrated with a low uncertainty i.e. with good calibration practices on good calibration equipment. g) The read out should be highly accurate and have a good uncertainty h) The fixturing used should be carefully designed that ensures accurate calibration with high repeatability

WHY

DOES A AD AP T E R ?

C AL I B R AT I O N C L AS S

L O AD C E L L H AV E A B AS E P L AT E AN D A C AL I B R AT I O N

In order to get high repeatability (low repeatability error) and low creep from a calibration class load cell Then the following conditions need to be met: a) The cell sensing element must be mounted on a flat surface b) The load cell sensing element must be rigidly fixed to the structure. Rigidly fixed usually means bolted down c) The load cell element should be torqued down evenly to avoid distortion d) Any threads used in the loading path should be pre-tensioned to avoid thread creep during the load cycle e) All compressive forces should be applied absolutely perpendicular to the sensing element and any side loading should be avoided. f) All tensile forces should be applied to the load cell absolutely perpendicular to the sensing element. The calibration adapter and base plate help achieve all of these goals as shown in the diagram.

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W H AT

I S T H E U N C E R T AI N T Y O F A

SENSOTEC

L O AD C E L L ?

The uncertainty of a Sensotec load cell is determined by a number of factors a) The type of load cell b) The calibration procedure used in its calibration c) The range of the load cell d) The calibration test stand that was used to do the calibration e) If the low uncertainty option was specified at time of manufacture f) If the load cell includes pull plate and calibration adaptor. An 10,000 lb imperial class calibration load cell with pull plate and calibration adapter and SC2000 calibration class signal conditioning may have an uncertainty of 0.75 lbf or 0.0075% A 100 lbf model 41 would have an uncertainty of 0.05 lbf or 0.05%

W H AT

U N C E R T AI N T Y S H O U L D M Y C AL I B R AT I O N R E F E R E N C E L O AD C E L L H AV E ?

The simple answer is that a calibration reference load cell should have an uncertainty that is 4 times better that the load cell it is going to be used in calibrating. The more complete answer is however that it is not strictly the load cell that has the uncertainty but the results obtained by that load cell. In order to get results from a calibration reference load cell the load cell needs a display, it needs signal conditioning, it needs a calibration stand or means of loading and it needs a calibration procedure. If you look at the contributing
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uncertainties in the results obtained from a calibration load cell the largest contributors to error in descending order are likely to be: Fixturing Calibration rig or means of loading Reference load cell display and signal conditioning Reference calibration load cell calibration Reference Load cell creep Reference Load cell hysteresis Reference Load cell linearity If a low uncertainty calibration result is desired then it makes sense to reduce individual contributors to the overall uncertainty budget. If the fixturing, calibration rig, display and signal conditioning are poor it would seem pointless to spend time and money employing a low (good) uncertainty load cell. If the fixturing, calibration rig, display and signal conditioning are good then it would be worthwhile spending time and money getting a low uncertainty calibration carried out on a low creep, low hysteresis, high linearity load cell. .

DOES

A L O AD C E L L H AV E T O B E C AL I B R AT E D W I T H I T S D I S P L AY ?

Strictly speaking the answer is no. However when using the load cell the uncertainty of the signal conditioning cabling and the display unit need to be determined and added to that of the load cell. In addition the signal conditioning/display unit needs to be within its annual calibration. It is for these reasons that the signal conditioning/display unit is often included in the calibration of the load cells as it a) determines the uncertainty of the load cell and signal conditioning unit combined and b) ensures that the signal conditioning unit gets its annual or biannual calibration.

W H AT D O E S T H E CELLS?

ASTM E74

S T AN D AR D S P E C I F I C AL L Y S AY AB O U T C AL I B R AT I O N C L AS S L O AD

a) It outlines a procedure on how load cells should be calibrated and the terminology used b) Load cells should be tested by deadweight testing machines and hydraulic test machines and specifies the uncertainty of these weights and how local gravity needs to be determined. c) It defines how the linearity curve should be defined as a polynomial curve with a 2 n d order fit but that up to 5 t h order can be used. d) It states that a calibration should be carried out at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100% in ascending loading only. It also states that if increments in deadweights cannot be obtained to carry out these percentages that alternatives can be used but need to be specified in the calibration certificate e) A calibrated load cell cannot be used below 10% unless weights were applied below 10% and calibration results obtained.
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f) A load cell can never be used below 2000 times the uncertainty of the cell for a class AA load cell and 400x the uncertainty g) A load cell should never be used below 2% of its full scale output. h) It specifies good calibration practices to adopt like temperature control and application of the weights etc. i) It specifies that after the cell is taken through one 19 point calibration cycle that the cell should be rotated by 120 degrees and a 19 point calibration carried out again and then rotated again through 120 degrees for a third 19 point calibration carried out. j) The uncertainty of the cell is reported as 2.4 x the standard deviation of the results obtained during the calibration process. k) The uncertainty for a class A standard load cell should never exceed 0.25% and 0.05% for a class AA load cell l) The temperature error over the stated temperature range should not exceed 0.01% for Class AA load cells and 0.05% for Class A load cells m) Load cells need to be re-calibrated 1 year after manufacture and then every 2 years provided the calibration has not changed by more than 0.1%. If the calibration has changed then the cells need to be recalibrated more frequently until a new time interval is established. n) It specifies a format for the report or calibration certificate ASTM E74 does not specify the required accuracy of a load cell nor does it specify linearity or hysteresis

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GENERAL

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HOW

DO

K N O W W H AT AC C U R AC Y C L AS S T O U S E F O R M Y S E N S O R ?

It depends on the application. How much does error in your project matter? If youre filling a tub with water then it may not matter at all. If youre filling of a tub with chemicals, the consequence of error could be severe. If the consequences of error are significant, you should identify all sources of error and their contribution to total error. You can then snap pressure sensors with different levels of accuracy into your evaluation and see the impact of sensor error on each. If you have other error factors that are much larger than the transducer then upgrading the transducer accuracy may not matter. Remember to translate the accuracy into hard numbers to get a better perspective. Is a 1000 PSI pressure transducer with .1% accuracy good enough? The real question is whether an accuracy of +/- 1 PSI is accurate enough. Is detecting between 999 and 1001 PSI at a true pressure of 1000 PSI acceptable? It depends on the application. You can always opt for the highest accuracy, but it can be more beneficial to analyze accuracy in the context of the applications needs, transducer costs and transducer lead times.

W H AT

IS

SENSITIVITY?

The ratio of change between a transducers output and input is known as its sensitivity. For example, a transducer that produces 1 mV for every 100 psi has a sensitivity value of .01 mV/psi. Under ideal conditions, a transducers sensitivity value does not change between zero and full scale. A transducer that produces 1 mV for every 100 psi would then, under ideal conditions, also produce 2 mV for an applied pressure of 200 psi, 3 mV for an applied pressure of 300 psi, and so. A transducers ideal sensitivity can therefore be mapped as a straight line, and the transducers sensitivity value, expressed as the ratio of output to input, then equates to the slope of that line

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Ideal Sensitivity is Represented as a Straight Line Notice also that under ideal conditions, there is zero output when there is zero input. However, the actual sensitivity of a transducer fluctuates slightly between zero balance and full scale. Some reasons for this might be due to manufacturing and materials imperfections, electrical interference, and even the age of the transducer. In addition, a transducer usually produces some amount of output even at zero balance. Thus, true sensitivity actually equates to a non-linear function with a zero offset.

True Sensitivity is Represented as a Curve Because true sensitivity is non-linear, the true sensitivity value of a transducer (the ratio of output to input) will not always be the same at any point between zero balance and full scale. In order for a sensitivity value to be constant, the sensitivity must be expressed linearly. Most manufacturers use a best fit straight line to represent sensitivity.

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Example of a Best Fit Straight Line The sensitivity value can then be expressed as the slope of the best fit straight line, which becomes the value quoted on the transducers calibration certificate.

Sensitivity as the Slope of the Best Fit Straight Line Sensotec Note In some cases, Sensotec uses the slope of a best fit straight line as a transducers quoted sensitivity on its calibration certificate. In other cases, Sensotec uses the slope of a terminal point straight line. (See What is NonLinearity?)

W H AT

IS

N O N - L I N E AR I T Y ?

In its broadest sense, non-linearity refers simply to a departure from something that is linear.

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In the world of transducers, non-linearity is the maximum deviation in output between a transducers sensitivity curve and a linear representation of its true sensitivity curve drawn between nominal zero and full scale. Non-linearity is measured on increasing input only, and is expressed as a percent of full scale output. An example of non-linearity for a transducer is 0.15% F.S. Determining non-linearity for a transducer raises a question of how to create the linear representation of a transducers true sensitivity. Often a best fit straight line, which is based on the least squares method, is employed.

Best Fit Straight Line Compared to Ideal Sensitivity When a best fit straight line is used, transducer non-linearity is simply the greatest deviation between the transducers sensitivity curve and the best fit straight line obtained mathematically using the least squares fit method

Non-Linearity Based on Best Fit Straight Line

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In other cases, a terminal point straight line is used to determine transducer non-linearity. The terminal point straight line is drawn between nominal zero and output at full scale.

Terminal Point Straight Line Terminal point straight line is often a more practical best straight line, as it is easy to understand and implement. The user simply takes the output at zero and the output at full scale and assumes a straight line relationship. Using a terminal point straight line results in a greater (worse) value for non-linearity than using a best fit straight line obtained mathematically.

Non-Linearity Based on Terminal Point Straight Line Sensotec Note Sensotec uses the terms linearity and non-linearity interchangeably. Sensotec uses the terminal point straight line method and least squares fit best straight line to determine its transducers non-linearity. The datasheets indicate the method used when quoting specifications.

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W H AT

IS

HYSTERESIS?

Hysteresis refers to the behavior of a transducer to produce different output values for a common input point depending on whether applied input is increasing or decreasing. Hysteresis is due to the behavioral patterns of metal crystals, which expand and contract differently. As applied pressure on a transducer increases, the non-linear representation of the transducers output traces its true sensitivity curve. But as applied pressure on a transducer decreases, the non-linear representation of transducer output results in a different sensitivity curve. Hysteresis is then the greatest difference between output readings for a common input point, one reading obtained while increasing from zero input, and the other while decreasing from full scale output. The deviation is expressed as a percent of full scale. An example of hysteresis for a transducer is 0.10% F.S.

Hysteresis as the Deviation between Increasing and Decreasing Values


W H AT
IS

S T AT I C E R R O R B AN D ?

Static error band is a performance specification that takes into account the effects of transducer non-linearity and hysteresis. The static error band is an error envelope that is determined by drawing two lines parallel to the best fit straight line (going through normalized zero point) with a width that is determined by the hysteresis curve. An example of static error band for a transducer is 0.04% F.S. Notice that a best fit straight line, rather than a terminal point straight line, is used to calculate transducer error band. The best fit straight line must take into account both curves. Once the best fit straight line has been determined, two lines, which are both parallel to the best fit straight line, are then drawn through the points of maximum deviation. The entire region between these outer lines is known as the static error band.

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Static Error Band and the Best Fit Straight Line

W H AT

IS

C AL I B R AT I O N F AC T O R ?

Calibration is the process of standardizing an instrument by determining its deviation from a desired standard. It is through the calibration process that one obtains the proper correction factors for the transducers deviation. Calibration is essentially the comparison of transducer outputs when compared to a reference standard. Every transducer is shipped with a sensitivity on its calibration certificate so that the electronic equipment associated with the transducer can be set up correctly. Sensotec Note Sensotec expresses the sensitivity of the transducer by stating a calibration factor rather than a sensitivity. The calibration factor for a transducer is the transducers output value at full scale when the output has been normalized (i.e. zeroed). The line drawn through normalized zero and a transducers calibration factor equates to the best fit straight line of the transducer output. Thus, the transducers calibration factor in effect establishes the transducers sensitivity.

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Calibration Factor Quoted on the Calibration Certificate

WHEN SHOULD I FIT

CONNECTOR

OR

I N T E G R AL C AB L E ?

Using a connector makes it easy to disconnect (or reconnect) a sensors cabling which also makes it easier to remove or replace the sensor too. Thus, using connectors is an excellent choice for temporary sensor applications. However, in addition to sometimes being more expensive than integral cable options, connectors introduce a point of vulnerability for potential water, moisture, and mechanical damage in the connection itself.

Connector version of sensor Because of size constraints, it is often impractical or impossible to fit connectors to small sensors; thus, integral cable technology is often the only option for small sensors. As can be imagined, integral cables are often used for more permanent installations, where connecting and disconnecting a sensors cabling is not planned. Because the cable is integrated with the sensor, the points of vulnerability with respect to water, moisture, and mechanical damage that can occur with connector technology, are eliminated; on the other hand, integral cables require strain relief protection to prevent the cable from getting sheared off or ripped out. If an integral cable is ever damaged, the entire sensor must be repaired or replaced.

Miniature sensor with integral cable


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While it is possible to fit a connector to a submersible sensor (using a submersible connector), using an integrated cable is much more cost effective. Because a submersible sensor (Fig 24c) is typically part of a permanent installation, an integrated cable becomes a much more practical choice. In some cases, though, an application might not require true submersibility, but only a degree of water protection; thus one must be able to identify the true need.

Submersible Sensor The following table summarizes the advantages and concerns for connectors and integral cables: Connector - Cable Comparison

Connector
Easy to disconnect cabling from the sensor Easy to replace the sensor Ideal for temporary installations More expensive Point of vulnerability S u b j e c t t o wa t e r , moisture, mechanical damage

Integral Cable
Ideal for permanent installations Often the only option on small sensors Cable must be protected to avoid damage Strain relief often required Cable damage means replacing or repairing sensor

Submersible
Submersible connectors are very expensive Integral cable is a more cost effective solution More permanent installation (by definition) Ensure of definition b e t we e n wa t e r p r o o f a n d submersible

Connector - Cable Comparison Table

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W H AT

IS THE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBMERSIBLE

AN D

W AT E R P R O O F ?

There are many categories of environmental protection against water. For example, a product might be designed for water protection in various forms, such as protection from dripping; spraying; splashing; jet spray; immersion; submersion; and so on. A product with an environmental protection rating against dripping water might not have sufficient protection against splashing water or jet spray. Similarly, a product protected against spraying or splashing might not have sufficient protection against submersion.

Three Environmental Protections for Enclosures Waterproof is a general term with respect to environmental protection. A waterproof sensor might actually be rated only against a specific type of water ingress, such as splashing, dripping, spraying, and so on. A sensor that is rated against submersion, on the other hand, is probably also protected against all other forms of water ingress. Submersible sensors, which are rated by depth of submersion, enjoy the highest environmental protection against water.

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W H AT

AR E

NEMA

AN D

IP D E F I N I T I O N S

FOR

E N V I R O N M E N T AL P R O T E C T I O N ?

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has been developing standards for the electrical manufacturing industry for more than 70 years. NEMAs environmental protection standards, which are used in America, are expressed numerically as follows: NEMA Number Definitions: NEMA-# # 1 2 3R 4 4X 9 12 13 Meaning General Purpose (Indoor) Water Drip Proof (Indoor) Dust Tight, Rain Tight, and Ice Resistant (Outdoor) Water Tight and Dust Tight (Indoor/Outdoor) Water Tight, Dust Tight, and Corrosion Resistant (Indoor/Outdoor) Indoor Hazardous Locations (Not Applicable to EMS Equipment) Industrial Use - Dust Tight and Drip Tight (Indoor) Oil Tight and Dust Tight (Indoor) NEMA Number Definitions Table

Thus, an enclosure that is rated as NEMA-4 is both water tight and dust tight, whether indoors and outdoors. Europe uses a different system (IP) to express environmental protection for enclosures. Protection categories are expressed by two numbers. Each number defines the protection level. The first number refers to a particles protection; the second number refers to water protection.

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IP Number Definitions: IP## 1st # 0 1 Meaning No Special Protection Protected Against Solid Objects > 50 mm in Diameter Protected Against Solid Objects <12 mm in Diameter Protected Against Solid Objects <2.5 mm in Diameter Protected Against Solid Objects <1 mm in Diameter Dust Protected 2nd # 0 1 Meaning No Special Protection Protected Against Dripping Water Protected Against Dripping Water When Tilted Up to 15D C From Normal Position Protected Against Spraying Water Protected Against Splashing Water

3 4 5 6

3 4 5

Protected Against Water Jet Spray Protected Against Dust Tight 6 Heavy Jet Spray Protected Against the 7 Effects of Immersion Protected Against 8 Submersion IP Number Definitions Table

For example, IP54 is considered both dust protected and splash protected. Note that there is a difference between the effects of immersion and submersion. Immersion protection means that an ingress of water will not cause harmful effects when the enclosure is temporarily immersed in one meter of water for standard conditions of pressure and time. Submersion, on the other hand, means that an ingress of water will not cause harmful effects when the enclosure is continuously immersed in water under more severe conditions, which are agreed upon by the manufacturer and user.

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LOAD CELLS

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W H AT

IS

O V E R L O AD P R O T E C T I O N

ON A

L O AD C E L L ?

Overload protection in a general sense refers to how a system or device is protected from damage that can result from an input that exceeds a designed limit. For example, overload protection in an electrical application might involve using a fuse or circuit breaker to protect the system from a current overload. Overload protection on a load cell refers specifically to the means used to prevent the cells diaphragm from deflecting beyond its designed elastic limit. Without overload protection, a load cells diaphragm experiences irreversible damage under too much applied input. To achieve overload protection in a load cell, a mechanical stop is inserted to prevent the diaphragm from deflecting beyond its elastic limit The mechanical stop bottoms out when excessive load is applied.

Overload Protection on a load cell (in this case mounted between base plate and load cell) Load cells that do not have mechanical overload protection enjoy an overload capacity by default typically 50%. This means that a 100 lbf load cell without mechanical overload protection can sustain a 150 lbf load without incurring damage. Notice that when a load cells maximum designed input limit is exceeded, the load cells output does not increase further (the output becomes asymtopic) Mechanical overload protection lends itself more easily to compression load cells than to tension load cells. Because of the internal mechanical design of
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tension load cells, it is difficult to insert a mechanical stop that provides sufficient overload protection. Sensotec Note: Sensotec sensors operate in an elastic range of .002 - .003 inch. Because of the typical design of most load cells, Sensotec can fit overload stops on most compression load cells, but on only a few tension load cells. There are also some load cells that, because of their unique shape, are unable to have overload stops in either compression or tension. At Sensotec, every load cell has a slightly different deflection. Because tolerances on a load cells internal dimensions are not tight enough to permit a generic overload protection stop, any protection stop that is inserted must be custom made, custom fitted, and then custom tested. This process increases the cost significantly.

W H AT

IS A

C O M P R E S S I O N O N L Y L O AD C E L L ?

A compression only load cell is a load cell that has been designed specifically to measure only compression. Most load cells work in both compression and tension to some degree. However, some load cells, by virtue of their physical construction, are better suited to either compression or tension. Sometimes it is preferable to use a load cell that measures both compression and tension without enabling its tension measuring capability. Rather than design a load cell that measures only compression, a load cell capable of measuring compression and tension can be shipped with calibration simply carried out only for compression. This type of load cell might be considered a compression-only load cell, although it is technically a compression and tension load cell being used only for compression. Compression-only load cells are usually fitted with a load button to minimize side loading.

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The physical design of the load cell is typically better suited for either compression or tension. Compression-only load cells tend to have a high diameter to height ratio. Tension-only load cells, on the other hand, tend to have a high height to diameter ratio. When a compression and tension load cell is used only for compression, calibration is provided only for compression loading. It is more expensive to provide calibration in both directions for a load cell. It is less expensive, on the other hand, to provide calibration in just one direction (tension only or compression only). It is also important to consider which physical attachments will come into play with a load cells application. Some load cells will be better suited for specific attachments.

W H AT

IS A

T E N S I O N O N L Y L O AD C E L L ?

A tension only load cell is a load cell that has been designed specifically to measure only compression. Most load cells work in both compression and tension to some degree. However, some load cells, by virtue of their physical construction, are better suited to either compression or tension.

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Physical design of a tension load cell Sometimes it is preferable to use a load cell that measures both compression and tension without enabling its compression measuring capability. Rather than design a load cell that measures only tension, a load cell capable of measuring compression and tension can be shipped with calibration simply carried out only for tension. This type of load cell might be considered a tension-only load cell, although it is technically a compression and tension load cell being used only for tension.

Tension Only Application and load cell fitted with rod end bearings Tension-only load cells tend to be long in shape, and are often fitted with rodend bearings, which minimize side loading.

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W H AT

IS A

TENSION

AN D

C O M P R E S S I O N O N L Y L O AD C E L L ?

A tension and compression load cell is a load cell that has been designed specifically to measure both tension and compression. Most load cells work in both compression and tension to some degree. However, some load cells, by virtue of their physical construction, are better suited to either compression or tension. Thus, a tension and compression load cell is one that has been physically designed in such a way to be able to measure both compression and tension effectively. Note that a tension and compression load cell should come with two calibration factors: one for compression measurement, and one for tension measurement.

Sensotec Note: Load cells are supplied with tension-only calibration unless the tension/compression calibration option is ordered.

W H AT

IS A

R O D E N D B E AR I N G ?

Rod end bearings are self-aligning spherical bearings used in tension applications to prevent side loading. Using male or female attachments, rod end bearings attach to a static rod. The bearing itself swivels in order to accommodate the rods varying misalignment. Ratings exist for both load capacity and lubrication requirements. Some rod end bearings can actually be created with integrated threaded studs in the bearing. Common applications for
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rod end bearings include linkages, shift control rods, and use with tension load cells.

Male Rod End Bearing

Female Rod End Bearing

W H AT

IS A

L O AD B U T T O N ?

A load button is a physical feature of a compression load cell. A load button is a domed shaped loading point that is welded or threaded onto the side of the load cell that has been designated to receive the applied load. Load buttons are used to measure compression loading correctly by eliminating the potential for side loading. A load button is rounded so that the load being measured always rests on the highest point of the button. A load button ensures that the entire applied load issues a force in a direction that is perpendicular to the load cell.

Load Button Ensures a Force Perpendicular to the Load Cell

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W H AT

IS

L O AD C E L L S Y M M E T R Y ?

Load cell symmetry refers to whether a load cell exhibits the same sensitivity for both compression and tension usage. All load cells have a non-symmetry of a greater or lesser extent. The linear representation for compression in a load cell is not, by default, symmetrical to the linear representation for tension. Thus, when both sensitivities are mapped, the sensitivity curves for compression and tension are different and have a different slope. Most tension and compression load cells are used in only one direction for an application so the question of symmetry is not an issue. On some occasions, though, applications might call for true symmetry in a load cell. An example might be an application, which measures both compression and tension in a hydraulic line. In this case, working with a single calibration factor for both directions might be preferred to having to balance two calibration factors. This convenience can be achieved if the load cell exhibits near true symmetry. It is possible to achieve near true symmetry in a load cell. The process, however, is expensive.

Sensotec Note: Symmetry can be calculated and minimized for customers where this phenomenon is an issue. Calibration class load cells have very low symmetry characteristics.

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W H AT

I S Z E R O B AL AN C E F O R A

L O AD

CELL?

Zero Balance is the load cell output when no load and proper supply voltage are applied. Zero balance is expressed as a percentage of full scale. Ideally, the output would be exactly zero, but it is not due to several factors. The electrical and mechanical components of transducers have inherent stresses and offsets during the assembly process. These offset the zero balance.

Zero offset present during manufacture We add resistance to ensure satisfactory zero balance for new transducers.

Zero balance resistor added to bridge network Operating environment and transducer history can change the zero balance. Factors include temperature, transducer age, and transducer overload. If customers notice a change in their zero balance, they may want to adjust their balance using either external instrumentation or local zero adjustments.

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Annual testing and certification can ensure precise output throughout the life of the transducer.

W H AT

I S Z E R O B AL AN C E T E M P E R AT U R E E F F E C T ?

Zero balance is the load cell output at no load. This balance changes as temperature changes

We can minimize the zero balance change due to temperature by inserting compensating resistors. When a temperature changes drive the transducer output higher, the changes are also driving the compensation resistor to lower output.
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The zero balance offset is described as a percentage of full scale change per degree Fahrenheit (% F.S. / F) A 10000 lb sensor with .002% F.S. / F will have a zero shift of 0.2 lbs for every degree change from the calibration reference temperature.

W H AT

IS

O U T P U T S P AN T E M P E R AT U R E

EFFECT?

Output Span refers to the output between zero and full scale. The output span is the output value of the sensor at full load (Calibration factor), expressed as mV/V. A sensor with a calibration factor of 3 mV/V will have an output of 30 mV at full load if it is being supplied with 10V power.

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Output span varies with temperature, and we insert span compensating resistors to minimize this variation.

800 lb load

10V

75 F

Given output for a given load at reference temperature

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The temperature effect on span is measured as a percentage change in rated output per degree of temperature change. A 10000 lb load cell with .002 Rdg/F will exhibit 0.2 lb span shift for each degree of temperature change. Customers can adjust the zero and span of their outputs by adjusting the zero and span adjustments on their transducer (If they have internal amplification), or on the instrumentation that reads the transducers.

WHEN SHOULD I

H AV E

ZERO

AN D

S P AN

AD J U S T M E N T S O N M Y L O AD C E L L ?

Zero and span may shift due to temperature, repeated loading, or sensor aging. The preferred method to adjust zero and span is through the use of external instrumentation. This allows users to track the changes theyve made and revert back to previous values if needed.
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Customers may purchase amplified output load cells with zero/span adjustments directly on the unit. This also allows for zero and span adjustment, but does not allow the user to track changes or revert to previous values. Once adjusted, the sensor is no longer calibrated as it was from the factory. Customers will also want to consider the operating environment of the transducer when selecting whether or not to use sensors with zero/span adjustments. If the sensor were going to be inaccessible, then it would be better to not have adjustments directly on the sensor. A significant advantage of having the adjustment screws is that users can get calibrated, precise output by use of annual testing and certification, even as the transducer wears or ages in service.

W H AT AR E T H E AD V AN T AG E S AN D D I S AD V AN T AG E S O F H AV I N G A S E N S O R I N T E R N AL AM P L I F I E R O N A L O AD C E L L ?

Systems without internal amplification must receive supply voltage from an external source, and must send small signals (i.e. 30mV) back to the amplifying source.

A good sensor output may become distorted by the electrical noise. These errors can be large and give signal to noise ratios of less than 20.

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Internal amplification is a good way of reducing the effects of noise. The internal amplifiers are housed in the same unit as the sensor. This ensures the signal amplification is accomplished inside the transducer.

This makes the system less vulnerable to electrical noise and creates a higher signal to noise ratio. The larger output also allows A/D converters to create a higher resolution output. Because the internal amplifiers are so close to the sensor, line drops in excitation are eliminated.

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The amplifier outputs are low impedance, and internal amplifiers, although they have some ripple associated with them dont contribute noticeably to system inaccuracy and signal to noise ratios of 10,000 are not uncommon.

Internal amplifiers may not be feasible under certain conditions. Specifically, the circuitry in the amp cannot be subjected to extreme temperatures. If sensor placed in a location inaccessible to users (hazardous environment, small space, long distance), zero and span adjustments may not be able to be tweaked when needed. Internal amplifiers increase the overall size of the unit, which may be concern in some applications.

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WHY

IS THE OUTPUT OF MY PRESSURE DETECTOR QUOTED IN MV/V?

mV/V output allows you to eliminate much of the error due to power supply voltage change. A mV/V output implies that different levels of excitation may be provided to the transducer. The full-scale output of the transducer varies directly with the excitation. A sensor with a calibration factor of 3 mV/V will exhibit 30 mV at full pressure if it is being supplied with 10V power, but only 15 mV at full pressure if it is being supplied with 5 V.

Output varies with supply voltage. If we dont know how much the change in supply voltage affected our output, then we cannot possibly know how much our change in output was due to an actual change in pressure

Many users monitor transducer output AND power supply excitation. Changes in output are compared to the supply voltage to discount effects from voltage
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shifts. Using the mV/V relationship, users can tell how much of their output change was due to an actual change in pressure

This approach is known as a ratio metric approach because it relies on the ratio of voltage output to the Calibration Factor (mV/V) to determine pressure. For example, if we have a 3 mV/V, 100 lb load cell: Supply Voltage Load Output 10 Volts 100 lbs 30 mV 5 volts 100 lbs 15 mV

HOW

DO

K N O W W H AT AC C U R AC Y C L AS S T O U S E F O R M Y S E N S O R ?

It depends on the application. How much does error in your project matter? If youre filling a tub with water then it may not matter at all. If youre filling of a tub with chemicals, the consequence of error could be severe. If the consequences of error are significant, you should identify all sources of error and their contribution to total error. You can then snap load cells with different levels of accuracy into your evaluation and see the impact of sensor error on each. If you have other error factors that are much larger than the transducer then upgrading the transducer accuracy may not matter. Remember to translate the accuracy into hard numbers to get a better perspective. Is a 1000 lb load cell with 0.1% accuracy good enough? The real question is whether an accuracy of +/- 1 lb is accurate enough. Is detecting

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between 999 and 1001 lbs at a true load of 1000 lbs acceptable? It depends on the application. You can always opt for the highest accuracy, but it can be more beneficial to analyze accuracy in the context of the applications needs, transducer costs and transducer lead times.

H O W D O E S T E M P E R AT U R E

AF F E C T A

L O AD

CELL?

Temperature causes changes in zero and span shift for load cells.

HOW

D O Y O U C O M P E N S AT E F O R T E M P E R AT U R E I N A

L O AD

CELL?

The characteristics of all transducers vary with temperature. We install additional components that act opposite of the transducers inherent temperature characteristics. If the transducers components increase output with temperature, the compensation components decrease output, and viceversa. To select the proper compensation components, we conduct a thorough test. We vary the pressure and temperature while measuring the output. We use this data to select components that best compensate for temperature in each specific load cell.

W H AT

I S T H E T E M P E R AT U R E C O M P E N S AT I O N R AN G E ?

The temperature compensation range is the temperature range in which our sensor can be operated up to full scale while still maintaining our accuracy specifications. This is different than the temperature operating range, which is the temperature range in which the sensor may be operated safely but the accuracy specifications may not be met.

W H AT

I S T H E T E M P E R AT U R E O P E R AT I N G R AN G E ?

The temperature operating range is different than the temperature compensation range, and it is critical to understand the difference between the two. The temperature operation range is the range of temperatures in which our sensor can be safely operated up to full scale (accuracy specifications MAY NOT be met). The temperature compensation range is the range in which our sensor can be operated up to full scale while still meeting our accuracy specifications.
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HOW

DO

P I C K T H E R I G H T F U L L S C AL E O U T P U T F O R A L O AD C E L L ?

Several factors should be considered when selecting the right full scale output for a load cell. What is the maximum transient load your system will see? Transients may degrade sensor performance if they are too extreme. To evaluate if your transient is acceptable, compare it to the safe overload rating. The safe overload rating of the transducer is the maximum load that can be applied without permanently degrading the sensors characteristics. How often will the load in your system cycle? Transducers, like all mechanical components, wear over the course of many cycles. This wear can change your transducer characteristics. One way to extend your transducers life over many cycles is to pick a larger range load cell.

Dynamic loading can be a very significant factor when considering the load range to choose for your application. See Dynamic loading of load cells.

W H AT

IS THE EFFECT OF

D Y N AM I C

L O AD S O N A L O AD C E L L ?

Dynamic loads on a load cell can have a dramatic effect on your load cell and in many cases destroy your load cell without you being aware of it. Dynamic loads are fast acting loads that require high frequency signal conditioning to detect it because often they happen so fast. If the system is designed correctly unknown dynamic loads are not a problem. Dynamic loads often occur during installation when the cell is at its most venerable. Consider a 100lb load cell sitting on the floor. If a 3/8inch ball bearing weighing less than 2 ozs is dropped from a height of 18 inches the load cell experiences a 161 lb load. This innocuous effect permanently damages the load cell. Any signal conditioning attached to the load cell would have to have an update rate of 300 updates per second to detect this high-speed event. Thus a dropped wrench on the load cell or the dropping of the load cell on the floor from just a few inches can damage the cell. Damage is dramatically reduced when the forces applied on the load cell are not generated by hard incompressible surfaces. If the floor is wood or hammer blow was inflicted by a brass head instead of steel, then forces generated and damage done is considerably less.
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HOW

D O E S A L O AD C E L L W O R K ?

At the heart of a load cell is a strain gage. A strain gage is a device that changes resistance when it is deformed or stressed. The precise positioning of the gage, the mounting procedure, and the materials used all have a measurable effect on overall performance of the load cell. A strain gage is then cemented to the surface of a beam, diaphragm or column within a load cell. As the surface to which the gage is attached becomes strained, the fine wires of the strain gage wires expand or compress changing their resistance proportional to the applied load. In most strain gages four gages (or sometimes eight gages are used in the making of a load cell. Multiple strain gages are connected to create the four legs of a Whetstonebridge configuration. When an input voltage is applied to the bridge, the output becomes a voltage proportional to the load on the cell. The more load that is applied to the cell the more the bridge becomes unbalance and the larger the output. This output can be amplified and processed by signal conditioning or data acquisition equipment. In order to increase sensitivity of the whetstone bridge all the arms are active and the four strain gages are arranged so that two arms of the bridge is in compression while the other two arms are in tension.

W H AT

L O AD R AN G E S H O U L D

C H O S E F O R A L O AD C E L L ?

The load range for load cell should obviously be a little more than the maximum load that the cell will encounter during normal use. Built into all Sensotec load cells is a 50% overload capability. That means that if a cell is rated to 100lbs that it can endure 150 lbs before permanent damage is done to the cell. The
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load cell will not hold specification between 100 and 150lbs. Above the overload range is a loading region where the cell becomes progressively damaged. The further into this region, the more damage that is done, until the cell eventually breaks. Cells that have been loaded beyond 150% are not always damaged so that they cannot be used but they will permanently have an electrical offset due to the set that the load cell has now taken. This offset can be easily zeroed out by the load cell electronics. However because of this permanent damage the cell will have a lower future overload capability dependent on how much progressive damage was sustained. It is also important to take into consideration the dynamic loading on a load cell when specifying the loading range of a load cell. Dynamic loading can be catastrophic to a load cell. In this demonstration a 3/8 inch ball bearing weighing 2 ozs is dropped from 1ft onto a 100 load cell. The load cell experiences 140 lbs of load. If the ball bearing were to have been dropped from any higher the cell would have suffered irreparable damage.

W H AT

THINGS DO

NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN MOUNTING A

L O AD C E L L ?

A load cell will only perform to its specification if it is mounted correctly. Many times the load cell is blamed for poor measurement performance when in fact the mounting arrangement is the source of the inaccuracy. In order of for the load cell to perform correctly the strain gauged element must be uniformly stressed when under load. In order for this to happen the following conditions should be met: Flat surface The mounting surface for the load cell should be flat, preferably a ground surface. This ensures that the load cell is strained evenly and that high spots do not induce an uneven loading on the load cell and therefore uneven stress levels. Hard, rigid surface The mounting surface for the load cell should be hard and rigid, This ensures that the surface does not distort or bend and twist under loading conditions. The loading stresses on the surface can be very severe particularly when miniature load cells are being used. Loads of 40,000 lbs per square inch are not uncommon. Once again if the surface is hard and rigid it will not distort and this ensures that the load cell is strained evenly and therefore experiences even stress levels. Level surface The surface should be level so that all the load is applied parallel to the main axis of the load cell. This ensures no cosine error is induced but also ensures that side loading does not create problems for the load cell, which will only have some degree of immunity. Loading applied parallel to the main axis. To ensure that the load cell only sees loads that are parallel to the main axis. In tension load cells rod end bearings can ensure that the load is always
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applied parallel to the main axis and in compression load cells load buttons fulfill a similar function.

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PRESSURE SENSORS

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HOW DOES

B O N D E D F O I L S T R AI N G AG E - B AS E D P R E S S U R E S E N S O R W O R K ?

A bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensor measures an applied pressure in one of two ways. In some models, such as miniature pressure sensors, foil strain gages are bonded to a diaphragm

Gauged diaphragm on a miniature pressure sensor But in other models, foil strain gages are bonded to an element that is mechanically connected to a diaphragm, such as by a bolt the strain gages are strained as applied pressure is transmitted from the diaphragm to the gauged element.

Gauged element and mechanical transmitter

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HOW DOES

S I L I C O N - B AS E D P R E S S U R E S E N S O R W O R K ?

A silicon-based pressure sensor measures an applied pressure by detecting the effect of the pressure against a silicon substrate. Strain gages in a silicon-based pressure sensor are not bonded to, but etched onto a silicon substrate. Notice that the silicon substrate is not connected to the diaphragm via any mechanical transmitter; rather, a transmission fluid (oil) is used to transmit the pressure from the diaphragm to the silicon substrate.

Silicon based pressure sensor As an applied pressure pushes against the diaphragm, the transmission fluid presses against the silicon substrate. As the silicon substrate experiences deformation, the strain gages, which are etched onto the silicon substrate, register this change. As with bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensors, strain gages in a siliconbased pressure sensor are arranged in a whetstone bridge circuit formation. The bridge circuit detects any change in electrical resistance, which occurs once a strain gage has been bent due to deformation of the silicon substrate, as a deflection from the initial zero voltage reading. The deflection means the applied pressure to the sensor has changed. Sensotec Note: Sensotec uses bonded foil strain gages, bonded semiconductor strain gages, gauged silicon substrates, and sputtered technologies in its pressure sensors depending on which is most suitable for the application.

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W H AT AR E A D V AN T AG E S B E T W E E N B O N D E D F O I L S T R AI N G AG E - B AS E D PRESSURE SENSORS?

AN D

S I L I C O N - B AS E D

Bonded foil strain gauge based pressure sensors are excellent choices for high pressure and high temperature applications. Strain gage based sensors are also very flexible in the number of designs they can be used for. This makes them ideal for short run specials or unique, application specific solutions. Silicon-based pressure sensors offer a higher frequency response with a higher overload capability. Silicon-based pressure sensors are often used in low pressure applications due to their higher sensitivity. Sensotec Note Sensotec-specific pressure sensor information is summarized in the following chart.

Silicon vs. bonded foil sensor comparison chart

W H AT

IS A

G AG E P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

A gage pressure sensor is a bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensor designed to measure applied pressure referenced to sealed atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure in a gage pressure sensor, which is sealed to prevent moisture and other air particles from entering the sensor, always reflects the atmospheric pressure on the day of manufacture, as opposed to the current or other date.

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Gage Pressure Sensor A gage pressure sensor operates in the same way as a bonded foil strain gagebased pressure sensor. As pressure is applied to a diaphragm, pressure is transmitted to a gauged element via a mechanical connection, such as a bolt. As the gauged element is deflected, strain gages, which are bonded to the element, reflect this as a change in resistance. The bridge circuit identifies the resulting change in electrical resistance as a change in applied pressure to the sensor. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.)

W H AT

IS A

T R U E G AG E P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

A True gage pressure sensor is a bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensor designed to measure applied pressure referenced to current atmospheric pressure. A true gage pressure sensor employs a dual diaphragm. One side of the diaphragm has the pressure to be measured applied while to second diaphragm, required to prevent moisture and other air particles from entering the sensor is vented to reference the current atmospheric pressure.

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True Gage Pressure Sensor A true gage pressure sensor operates in the same way as a bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensor. As pressure is applied to a diaphragm, pressure is transmitted to a gauged element via a mechanical connection, such as a bolt. As the gauged element is deflected, strain gages, which are bonded to the element, reflect this as a change in resistance. The bridge circuit identifies the resulting change in electrical resistance as a change in applied pressure to the sensor. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.) Sensotec Note Sensotec is one of only a few companies offering true gage pressure transducers. It also unique in offering a second diaphragm that protects the sensor from corrosion and damage by venting to air with humidity and dirt.

W H AT

I S AN

ABSOLUTE PRESSURE SENSOR?

An absolute pressure sensor is a bonded foil strain age-based pressure sensor designed to measure applied pressure referenced to sealed vacuum, or absolute zero pressure.

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Absolute Pressure Sensor An absolute pressure sensor operates in the same way as a bonded foil strain gage-based pressure sensor. As pressure is applied to a diaphragm, pressure is transmitted to a gauged element via a mechanical connection, such as a bolt. As the gauged element is deflected, strain gages, which are bonded to the element, reflect this as a change in resistance. The bridge circuit identifies the resulting change in electrical resistance as a change in applied pressure to the sensor. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.)

WHEN SHOULD SENSOR?

U S E AN AB S O L U T E P R E S S U R E S E N S O R R AT H E R T H AN A G AG E P R E S S U R E

The primary consideration concerns whether the atmosphere plays a role in the application for which the pressure sensor is being used. If any part of the application is exposed to the atmosphere, such as an automotive emission system or in level measurement in an open tank, a gage pressure sensor should be used. But if the atmosphere has no effect on the application, either type of pressure sensor can be used. However, when measuring extremely high pressures, such as those found in hydraulic applications, an absolute pressure sensor is typically used. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.)

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W H AT

IS A

D I F F E R E N T I AL P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

A differential pressure sensor designed to detect a change in pressure as the difference between two applied pressures. A differential pressure sensor employs a dual diaphragm with each diaphragm linked to a common central gauged element (foil based sensors) or silicon substrate (silicon based sensors). If both applied pressures are equal, both diaphragms are balanced, and the reading shows zero; but if either diaphragm see a different pressure from the other this differential pressure is transmitted to the gauged element. As the gauged element or silicon substrate is deflected so the gages register a change in resistance. The bridge circuit identifies the resulting change in electrical resistance as a change in applied pressure to the sensor.

Differential Pressure Sensor Differential pressure sensors are commonly used to measure the rate of flow in a pipe. By monitoring the pressure drop on either side of an orifice plate, the mass flow rate of the fluid in the pipe can be determined. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.)

W H AT

IS A

V AC U U M P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

Vacuum can be measured in two ways. By a) a Gage Pressure Sensor measuring pressure below atmospheric pressure (i.e. referenced to atmospheric pressure) or b) by an Absolute Pressure Sensor measuring pressure greater than absolute zero but less than atmospheric pressure. For user convenience the Gage Pressure Sensor designed for vacuum applications is usually scaled to report a decrease in pressure below atmospheric pressure as an increase in positive voltage. Thus, at
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current atmospheric pressure, a vacuum pressure sensor actually reports 0 psi; but at absolute zero pressure, a vacuum pressure sensor reports the value of the current atmospheric pressure as psi of vacuum.

Pressure Reference for Vacuum Pressure Sensor Because vacuum pressure sensors are measuring small pressure changes (max of 15 psi) the output can be scaled inches of water, inches of mercury or in psi. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.) Sensotec Note: Sensotec uses the term vacuum gages to define gage pressure sensors scaled in psi of vacuum or inches of water of vacuum. Absolute gages that are scaled to 15 psi are just considered absolute gages.

W H AT

IS A

B AR O M E T R I C P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

A barometric pressure sensor is an absolute pressure sensor that is used to measure barometric pressure. The full scale output can be calibrated in a number of different ways but is typically 16 to 32 or 0-30 inches of mercury. (Consult the Pressure Reference Chart to compare how the various pressure sensors reference pressure.)

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Pressure Reference for Barometric Pressure Sensor

WHICH PRESSURE REFERENCE

SHOULD

U S E F O R M Y AP P L I C AT I O N ?

It really depends on what the application is. However the best way to answer to this question is to show all of the various options so that an informed decision can be made. The Pressure Reference Chart below (See Figure 8a) shows the different points of reference against which pressure is measured by the various pressure sensors. Absolute pressure sensors reference pressure above absolute zero pressure; thus, absolute pressure sensors are capable of measuring pressure at any level. Gage pressure sensors reference pressure above a sealed atmospheric pressure; the atmospheric pressure used is the atmospheric pressure that existed on the day the sensor was sealed.

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Pressure Reference Chart True gage pressure sensors reference pressure above the current atmospheric pressure; because air can enter and exit through a vent in the sensor, the atmospheric pressure referenced is todays atmospheric pressure. Vacuum pressure sensors reference pressure of a vacuum below atmospheric pressure; vacuum pressure sensors are scaled to report decreasing negative pressure as increasing positive voltage.

W H AT

IS

O V E R L O AD P R O T E C T I O N

ON A

PRESSURE SENSOR?

Overload protection on a pressure sensor is similar to overload protection on a load cell. A mechanical stop is inserted to prevent the sensors diaphragm from deflecting beyond its elastic limit.

Overload Protection as a Mechanical Stop


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Mechanical overload protection stops are used less often in pressure sensors than in load cells. Bonded foil strain gage based pressure sensors can have mechanical overload protection easily fitted; silicon-based pressure sensors, because of their minute size and unique deflection/deformation process, have mechanical overload protection fitted less often. Notice that although silicon-based pressure sensors rarely have mechanical overload protection that comes with a mechanical stop, they exhibit a higher overload capacity than non-mechanically protected foil strain gage based pressure sensors. Silicon-based pressure sensors can sustain a 400% overload capacity. Bonded foil strain gage based pressure sensors without mechanical stops can sustain only a 50% (typical) overload capacity. Thus, a 100 psi silicon-based pressure sensor can sustain a 400 psi applied pressure without incurring damage. A 50,000 psi bonded foil strain gage pressure sensor, on the other hand, without a physical overload protection stop, can sustain a 75,000 psi applied pressure before experiencing irreversible damage.

W H AT

C O N S I D E R AT I O N S S H O U L D

M AK E W H E N M O U N T I N G A P R E S S U R E S E N S O R ?

A Sensotec pressure sensor can be mounted to a pressure line or vessel in a number of different ways: Male thread, female thread, tapered thread, clean in place connection, flush mount or through hole. The connection will depend on the application, the fluid of which the pressure is being measured and the pressure rating of that fluid. Selection needs to be made carefully particularly if the pressures are high. Male or female threads are used extensively while tapered threads are used when the thread is relied upon to perform the sealing. Clean in place connections ensure that when the fluid is not present in the system that no crevices exist in the system where fluid can be trapped and become contaminated when the next lot of fluid is passed through the system. Typical applications include the food and beverage industry and the medical industry.

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Flush mount connections are made when bleed off paths are not practical or influence the measurement.

HOW

C AN

P R O T E C T AG AI N S T W AT E R H AM M E R ?

Water hammer is one of the most common reasons for failure in a pressure sensor. Water hammer is the phenomenon where a fast moving fluid is suddenly stopped by the closing of a valve. The fluid has momentum that is suddenly arrested causes the incompressible fluid to minutely stretch the vessel in which it is constrained. A large bang is heard large pressure spike is generated. Any weak part of the system is subject to distortion. The pressure sensor sees this pressure spike and can easily be and is very often damaged by it. The effects
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of water hammer can be dramatically reduced with the insertion of a snubber in the pressure line just before the pressure sensor. The snubber is usually a mesh filter or sintered material that allows pressurized fluid through but does not allow large volumes of fluid through and therefore pressure spikes though in the event of water hammer.

W H AT

I S Z E R O B AL AN C E F O R A P R E S S U R E T R AN S D U C E R ?

Zero Balance is the pressure sensor output when no pressure and proper supply voltage are applied. Zero balance is expressed as a percentage of full scale. For Gage pressure sensors, zero balance is measured at atmospheric pressure (0 PSIG). For absolute pressure sensors, it is measured at full vacuum (0 PSIA). Ideally, the output would be exactly zero, but it is not due to several factors. The electrical and mechanical components of transducers have inherent stresses and offsets during the assembly process. These offset the zero balance.

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Zero offset present during manufacture We add resistance to ensure satisfactory zero balance for new transducers.

Zero balance resistor added to bridge network Operating environment and transducer history can change the zero balance. Factors include temperature, transducer age, and transducer overload. If customers notice a change in their zero balance, they may want to adjust their balance using either external instrumentation or local zero adjustments. Annual testing and certification can ensure precise output throughout the life of the transducer.

W H AT

I S Z E R O B AL AN C E T E M P E R AT U R E E F F E C T ?

Zero balance is the pressure sensor output at 0 pressure. This balance changes as temperature changes

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We can minimize the zero balance change due to temperature by inserting compensating resistors. When a temperature changes drive the transducer output higher, the changes are also driving the compensation resistor to lower output.

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The zero balance offset is described as a percentage of full scale change per degree Fahrenheit (% F.S. / F) A 10000 PSI sensor with .002% F.S. / F will have a zero shift of .2 PSI for every degree change from the calibration reference temperature.

W H AT

IS

O U T P U T S P AN T E M P E R AT U R E

EFFECT?

Output Span refers to the output between zero and full scale. The output span is the output value of the sensor at full pressure (Calibration factor), expressed as mV/V. A sensor with a calibration factor of 3 mV/V will exhibit 30 mV at full pressure if it is being supplied with 10V power.

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Output span varies with temperature, and we insert span compensating resistors to minimize this variation.

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The temperature effect on span is measured as a percentage change in rated output per degree of temperature change. A 10000 PSI sensor with .002 Rdg/F will exhibit .2 PSI span shift for each degree of temperature change. Customers can adjust the zero and span of their outputs by adjusting the zero and span adjustments on their transducer (If they have internal amplification), or on the instrumentation that reads the transducers.

WHEN SHOULD I

H AV E

ZERO

AN D

S P AN

AD J U S T M E N T S O N M Y P R E S S U R E D E T E C T O R ?

Zero and span may shift due to temperature, repeated loading, or sensor aging. The preferred method to adjust zero and span is through the use of external instrumentation. This allows users to track the changes theyve made and revert back to previous values if needed. Customers may order pressure detectors with zero/span adjustments directly on the unit. This also allows for zero and span adjustment, but does not allow the user to track changes or revert to previous values. Once adjusted, the sensor is no longer calibrated as it was from the factory. Customers will also want to consider the operating environment of the transducer when selecting whether or not to use sensors with zero/span adjustments. If the sensor is going to be inaccessible, then it would be better to not have adjustments directly on the sensor. A significant advantage of having the adjustment screws is that users can get calibrated, precise output by use of annual testing and certification, even as the transducer wears or ages in service.

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W H AT AR E T H E AD V AN T AG E S AN D D I S AD V AN T AG E S O F H AV I N G A S E N S O R I N T E R N AL AM P L I F I E R O N A P R E S S U R E D E T E C T O R ?

Systems without internal amplification must receive supply voltage from an external source, and must send small signals (i.e. 30mV) back to the amplifying source

What may start out as clean power can become degraded because of electrical noise between the excitation and the sensor.

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A good sensor output may become distorted by the electrical noise as well The internal amplifiers are housed in the same unit as the sensor. This ensures the power to the sensor and the signal amplification are accomplished inside the transducer.

This makes the system less vulnerable to electrical noise and creates a higher signal to noise ratio. The larger output also allows A/D converters to create a higher resolution output. Because the internal amplifiers are so close to the sensor, line drops in excitation are eliminated. The amplifier outputs are low impedance, and internal amplifiers dont contribute noticeably to system inaccuracy.

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Internal amplifiers may not be feasible under certain conditions. Specifically, the circuitry in the amp cannot be subjected to extreme temperatures. If sensor placed in a location inaccessible to users (hazardous environment, small space, long distance), zero and span adjustments may not be able to be tweaked when needed. Internal amplifiers increase the overall size of the unit, which may be concern in some applications.

WHY

IS THE OUTPUT OF MY PRESSURE DETECTOR QUOTED IN MV/V?

mV/V output allows you to eliminate much of the error due to power supply voltage change. A mV/V output implies that different levels of excitation may be provided to the transducer. The full scale output of the transducer varies directly with the excitation. A sensor with a calibration factor of 3 mV/V will exhibit 30 mV at full pressure if it is being supplied with 10V power, but only 15 mV at full pressure if it is being supplied with 5 V.

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Output varies with supply voltage. If we dont know how much the change in supply voltage affected our output, then we can not possibly know how much our change in output was due to an actual change in pressure

Many users monitor transducer output AND power supply excitation. Changes in output are compared to the supply voltage to discount effects from voltage shifts. Using the mV/V relationship, users can tell how much of their output change was due to an actual change in pressure

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This approach is known as a ratio metric approach because it relies on the ratio of voltage output to the Calibration Factor (mV/V) to determine pressure. For example, if we have a 3 mV/V, 100 PSI sensor: Supply Voltage 10 Volts 5 volts Pressure 100 PSI 100 PSI Output 30 mV 15 Mv

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TORQUE SENSORS

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W H AT

IS TORQUE?

Torque is a measure of the forces that cause an object to rotate. This measurement is a combination of two concerns: the amount of force applied to cause an object to turn on an axis; and the distance between the objects axis and the point at which the force is applied. Torque is the product of these two measurements -- a force and a length -- expressed in pound-feet or footpounds. When torque is very small, it is expressed in ounce-inches or inchounces. Consider a bolt that must be tightened. If 20 pounds of force is applied to the end of a two-foot wrench, then a torque of 40 foot-pounds has been applied. Because torque relies on two interrelated measurements -- a force and a length -- a proportional relationship exists when one measurement increases or decreases. For example, if one doubles the distance between the axis of rotation and the point at which an unchanging force is applied, the torque is also doubled. Similarly, if the distance is halved, the torque is also halved. Torque is sometimes referred to as a moment, and the distance between an objects axis of rotation and the point at which a perpendicular force is applied to turn the object is referred to as the moment arm. Thus, an application that requires a torque of 100 foot-pounds also requires a moment of 100 footpounds. There are two types of torque: reaction torque and rotary torque. (See What is reaction torque? and What is rotary torque?)

W H AT

I S R E AC T I O N T O R Q U E ?

Reaction torque is the force required to turn an object that is not free to rotate about an axis. For example, using a screwdriver to drive a screw into very hard wood or metal requires reaction torque to turn the bit as resistance is encountered.

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W H AT

I S R O T AR Y T O R Q U E ?

Rotary torque is the force required to cause something that is free to rotate to do so (rotate) continuously. For example, a propeller shaft or transmission shaft requires rotary torque to rotate continuously (360).

Some other examples of rotational torque include industrial motor drives and gear reducers. Rotary torque is differentiated from reaction torque. (See What is reaction torque?)

HOW

D O Y O U M E AS U R E R O T AR Y T O R Q U E ?

Rotary torque is the force required to cause something that is free to rotate to do so continuously (360). Rotary torque can be measured by a rotary torque sensor. A rotary torque sensor, or transducer, measures rotary torque by converting torque into an electrical signal. Selecting a torque sensor for your application depends upon a number of considerations, such as long-term reliability, physical constraints, portability, and budget. One way to measure rotary torque is to strain gage the shaft.

In this process one or more strain gages are bonded directly to the shaft that rotates. As the shaft deforms due to applied torque, so does the resistance in the bonded foil strain gage. A Wheatstone bridge converts the resistance change into a calibrated output signal. Direct torque sensor measurement is generally preferred to remote or indirect methods of calculating torque.
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Another way to measure rotary torque is to mount a transducer in the machine train as an in-line pre-gauged sensor.

Wireless torque cells consist of a rotary torque transformer connected in-line with standard industry flanges. The rotary torque transformer is coupled to the stationary portion of the assembly by wireless transmission. A stationary loop antenna induces power into an embedded antenna on the rotating torque cell. The induced power supplies the excitation voltage to the strain gages and powers the radio transmitter mounted in the torque sensor. The radio transmitter then modulates the strain signal for transmission to a stationary antenna. Still another way to measure rotary torque is to use a clamp on collar.

A clamp-on torque cell is a pre-calibrated bending beam mounted between two collars that clamp onto the shaft. Appropriately spaced knife-edges provide an accurate, reliable shaft torque measurement without marring or modifying the shaft. A clamp-on torque cell handles shaft diameters from 3 to 32 inches, and as much as 100,000 hp.

HOW

D O R O T AR Y T O R Q U E S E N S O R S W O R K ?

There are two types of rotary torque sensors. Some rotary torque sensors, such as wireless models, are non-contacting.

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Wireless rotary torque sensors, which are based on radio telemetry, are reliable and easy to install. Wireless rotary torque sensors are more expensive than contacting torque sensors; however, because wireless rotary torque sensors are non-contacting, they do not require support bearings or mechanical contacting parts. As a result, maintenance is eliminated. A stationary antenna induces power in a loop antenna on the rotating shaft. The power from the rotating shaft antenna is conditioned and excites the strain gages. A shaft-mounted radio transmitter then sends the measurement signal back to the stationary antenna. The telemetry antennas need to be somewhat flexible for ease of mechanical installation. Receivers should also have adjustments for peak coupling of the antenna for maximum induced power and received signal strength. The radio antenna gap is normally less than 3/4 in. Other rotary torque sensors are contacting. Slip rings are often used in contact-type torque sensors to apply power to and retrieve the signal from strain gages mounted on the rotating shaft. However, slip rings are susceptible to wear. Maintaining an oil-free slip ring is not always easy in many industrial applications. Slip ring brushes, as well as the support bearings that are internal to these torque sensors, eventually wear out. In-line rotary torque transformers are ideal for measuring torque when transducers are mounted in line with the rotating shaft. These consist of a strain gage torque cell having a calibrated output and inductively coupled to the stationary windings on the assembly by the rotary transformer. The rotary transformer couples the strain gages for power and signal return.

The rotary transformer works on the same principle as any conventional transformer except that either the primary or secondary coils rotate. The rotary transformer is simple and easy to use, and is usually applied to smaller
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machine trains. Rotary transformers have some susceptibility to noise and require bearings for support; thus, maintenance is required. The act of mounting the in-line transducer also changes system dynamics and can mean the torque values themselves may change.

WHEN

SHOULD

C H O O S E AN I N - L I N E S E N S O R ?

In-line torque cells maintain system dynamics by offering high torsional stiffness. They are pre-calibrated, and most have an internal calibration system that supplies a calibrated output signal to adjust instrument span in the absence of a known static torque.

The wireless telemetry feature also eliminates support bearings and their maintenance. However, in-line torque systems require cutting the shaft or lengthening the machine train to accommodate the inserted in-line transducer. Thus, if cutting or lengthening the shaft is not a feasible option, another measuring approach must be employed. (See What are the major differences between the various forms of torque measurement?)

WHEN

SHOULD

C H O O S E A C L AM P O N C O L L AR ?

Because a clamp-on torque cell is based on wireless telemetry, it has the inherent advantages of a non-contact system.

A clamp-on torque cell is immune to oil and dirt. However, unlike in-line sensors, clamp-on torque cells do not require cutting or lengthening the rotating shaft. The clamp-on feature also allows the torque measuring system to be moved to other similar installations easily in less than 30 minutes. Thus, a clamp-on torque cell is ideal when torque or horsepower monitoring forms part
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of the final check-out of multiple machines. (See What are the major differences between the various forms of torque measurement?)

WHEN

SHOULD

S T R AI N G AG E M Y S H AF T AS M Y T O R Q U E T R AN S D U C E R ?

When strain gages are bonded to the shaft, the shaft becomes the transducer.

The general guideline for strain gauging a shaft is that the applied torque must induce at least 150 to 175 micro-strain. The shaft must also be calibrated, a process that usually involves loading the shaft statically and tabulating the results. Calibrating a shaft is easy to do in small systems, but as loads and shaft size increase, it becomes an onerous task. Other concerns associated with strain gauging a shaft involve selecting a location for the strain gages, mounting the strain gages onto the shaft, and protecting the strain gages from damage through the application itself. Any of these tasks can create problems for users who are inexperienced in such techniques. Therefore, outside contractors are usually available through the torque sensor suppliers for most applications and locations. (See What are the major differences between the various forms of torque measurement?)

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W H AT AR E T H E M AJ O R D I F F E R E N C E S B E T W E E N T H E V AR I O U S F O R M S O F T O R Q U E M E AS U R E M E N T ?

The following chart compares the various forms of torque measurement: Comparison of Torque Measurement Techniques

In-line Sensor Based on wireless telemetry No support bearings eliminate maintenance Requires cutting the shaft or lengthening the machine train to accommodate the inserted in-line transducer

Clamp-on Collar Based on wireless telemetry Immune to oil and dirt effects Does not require cutting or lengthening the rotating shaft

Strain Gauged Shaft Strain gages are bonded directly to the shaft The shaft becomes the transducer Must select a location for the strain gages, mount the strain gages, and protect the strain gages The shaft must be calibrated

Pre-calibrated

Can be moved to other similar installations easily in less than 30 minutes Ideal application when torque or horsepower monitoring forms part of the final check-out of multiple machines

Generally preferred to remote or indirect methods of calculating torque

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