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Chatper 4 Analog Sensors and Transducers Sensor A device that measures or detects a real-world condition, such as motion, heat or light and convert the condition into an analog or digital representation All of the electrical energy at the output is derived from physical input (self-generating, passive) Thermocouples, photodiodes, Displacement Acceleration Force Pressure Temperature Flow Resistance Capacitance Inductance Electrical excitation Voltage Current Frequency

Transducer A device for converting energy from one form to another for the purpose of measurement of a physical quantity Has a physical input, an electrical output, and an electrical excitation modulated by the physical input (active) Potentiometers, resistance strain gauges, semiconductor Temp

Motion transducers are often used to measure the following physical variables: Displacement (including position, distance, proximity, size or gage) Velocity (rate of change of displacement) Acceleration (rate of change of velocity, such as vibration test) Jerk (rate of change of acceleration, earth-quake induced structural damage detect, high-speed elevators, wind hazard) 5000M/S3

Resistive Displacement Measurement -- Potentiometer a displacement transducer of both rectilinear and rotatory type (carbon, platinum, or conductive plastic) (mounted at a fixed position) 1 Device terminals 2 3 (attached to a movable object for displacement measurement x )

reference voltage connected to terminals 1 and 3 device output at terminal 2 works as a voltage divider circuit giving
vo = v
r ef

l = kx

Performance considerations on the use of potentiometers use a regulated reference voltage source to maintain a stable vo choose a device with a reasonably high resistance to reduce thermal effect linearity of device can be affected by the load impedance (of the measuring circuit) Rc l a x


Apply Kirchoffs current law at node

Displacement x / l

Rotary Potentiometer
Sl'lart seal

and bearlng1

Resistive Element

Neglect loading effect



TABLE 2. 1 Comparisons of Typical Potentiometer Elements

Potentiometer element Wire wound


Resistance tolerance 5% to 1%

1% to 0.1%


Temperaturo coefficient
20 ppm/C

Rotational life 2,000 . 000 revolutions

50 ohms to 250K ohms

o. 25 to o. o:l% (best at
higher resistances) Essentially infinite Essentially infinite

Cermet Conductive
plnstic Hybrid (plastic

250 ohms to 1 megohm 250 ohms to

250K ohms

&% to 1%
10% to 2%

o. 5% to


100 ppm/C .300 ppm{C

70 to :!:150 ppm/C

10,000,000 revolutions 25,000,000 revolutions 10,000,000 revolutions

0. 5% to 0. 05%
0.5% to 0.1\

plus wire)

500 ohms to 30K ohms

10\ to 5%


Motor Closed Loop Control Using a Potentiometer

Advantages -- inexpensive -- easy to use -- no amplification required other than buffering

HTM File


Disadvantages mechanical & electrical loading wear electrical noise self heating Stable Vref required

-- Limited to low frequency applications MAB25A 10/12 bit resolution

Contactless Potentiometer: Megatron MP1618 - analog,

Closed Loop DC Motor Control Using a Potentiometer (for Lab #1)

Differential Amplifier Position command input Error amplifier G = 20 Power amplifier G=1 DC motor Rotary potentiometer + 5V

- 5V

Displacement Measurement -- Variable-Inductance Transducers Based on the principles of electromagnetic induction Three broad types: 1. Mutual-induction transducer ( transformer ) 2. Self-induction transducers ( inductor ) 3. Permanent-magnet transducers for velocity sensing ( motor )

1. Linear Voltage Differential Transformer (LVDT) Non contact linear displacement sensor Consists of a primary coil driven by an ac carrier signal (several to tens of KHz) Carrier signal is inductively coupled to 2 symmetrical secondary coils using a ferromagnetic core Secondary coils are wired out of phase wrt each other Magnetic core is attached to movable object Both secondary coils get induced the same level of voltage when the core is centered between them ( X = 0, null position ) Coil on left gets induced a higher voltage level than that on the right when core is displaced to left from null position, and vice versa Vo

V r ef

Core displacement X

HTM File



Primary excitation Secondary 1 Secondary 2 Secondary 1 Secondary 2

Primary excitation Secondary 1 Secondary 2 Secondary 1 Secondary 2

Synchronous demodulation output




DC output proportional to displacement (cannot resolve direction)

+ DC output proportional to displacement and direction

Phase compensation due to non ideal characteristics of device


No sliding contacts to corrode or wear; low output impedance (~100 ) Linear position sensor with a high level of linearity ( typically < 0.5% over full stroke) Resolution only limited by conditioning circuitry Can be designed with a long stroke or can be sensitive to very small position changes ( + 0.5mm to + 550mm) Typically stainless steel in construction and environmentally sealed submersible sealing available DC- LVDT -- signal conditioning circuitry built into the device package (reduced operating temperature range) Used in harsh industrial, aerospace or military environments where reliability and performance are crucial As a rule, the excitation frequency should be chosen to be at (in radian)
10 X Maximum speed of operation Stroke of LVDT
HTM File


Rotary Voltage Differential Transformer For measuring rotational movement Similar to LVDT in operational concept except cylindrical core is replaced by a rotating cam attached to shaft Differential output voltage proportional to shaft rotation angle Linearity limited to + 40o -- severe limitation!

HTM File


Resolver Can detect object rotation up to 360o Based on mutual induction principle Consists of 2 sets of orthogonal pickup coils affixed to the stator

The coil wounded on the rotor is to be energized by an ac signal

vref = va sin t
Signals picked up by the two stator coils are dependent on the displacement angle of the rotor:

vo1 = avref cos ; vo2 = avref sin


vo1 = ava cos sin t ;

vo2 = ava sin sin t

vm1 vm2

Want to derive a single output signal relating to !




v f1 v f2

vref = va sin t

tan- 1

Multiply each quadrature signal by vref to get

2 vm1 = vo1vref = ava cos sin2t =

1 2 ava cos (1 - cos2t ), 2 1 2 2 2 vm2 = vo2vref = ava sin sin t = ava sin (1 - cos2t ), 2

Choose a carrier frequency to be 10 times the rate of change of and low pass filter the above modulated signals with a cutoff frequency of 10 , we get

1 2 v f1 = ava cos , 2

1 2 v f2 = ava sin 2


= tan

- 1

v f2 v f1


Using the same resolver, we can alternatively drive the two sets of stator coil with a quadrature sine wave (as a function of time) :


The phase shift of vr wrt v1 equals to the angular position of the rotor itself.


Primary advantages of the resolver: Fine resolution and high accuracy Low output impedance (high signal level) Small size (e.g., 10 mm in diameter) Direct availability of the sine and cosine functions of the measured angles Limitations: Nonlinear output signals Bandwidth limited by supply frequency Slip-rings and brushes would be needed if complete and multiple rotations have to be measured


Synchro Transfomer Consists of 2 identical rotor-stator pairs (Tranmsitter and Receiver) Each stator consists of 3 coils separated by 120o in space Transmitter rotor driven by either 50/60 Hz for industrial or 400Hz for military or aeronautical use Each coil in the transmitter picks up a signal whose amplitude dependent on the angular position t of the rotor The 3 signals are used to drive their 3 corresponding stator coils in the receiver If the rotor at the receiver assumes an angular position of r , then its output becomes vo = avref cos (t - r ) At the receiver end, control electronics can be applied to rotate the rotor to the desired angle wrt to t e.g. vo = 0 if qt - qr = 90o
vo = avr ef if qt - qr = 0o


Flexible, eliminates mechanical linkage between control unit and target Controlling unit be a long distance from the target unit Provides reliable, continuous and accurate control over the target unit Small in size and uses very little electrical power for its operation Used in position control for satellite dish and military gun order signal gun mount

The application of a synchro control transformer to a gun mount power drive Disadvantages ?


Mutual Inductance Proximity Sensor Carrier signal connected to primary winding (middle limb of E core) Two secondary coils wired in series and in phase (additive, 2 end limbs of E core) Magnetic flux developed in E core dependent on distance (magnetic reluctance) of separation X of the ferromagnetic target object Change of magnetic flux causes changes in output vo vo is a nonlinear function beyond a short displacement X, say 5 mm Measure transverse displacement only non-contact, negligible mechanical loading


Detecting Broken Drill Bit

Detecting Full Open or Closed Valve Position

Detecting Set Screws on Hub for Speed or Direction Control

Detecting Broken Drill Bit on Milling Machine

Detecting Presence of Can and lid


2. Self- Inductance Transducer Change of displacement of object alters the reluctance and therefore inductance of the circuit Inductance can be measured with an AC bridge circuit Can also be connected to a tuned circuit and check for resonance
Ferromagnetic Target Object x (Measurand) AC Supply vref ~

Inductance Measuring Circuit

N2 L = = c + g + o

lc lo + + m mA m A m mA r o c o c r o c

N2 2l g

Assumption: cross section area of core, air gap, and object = A c both core and object have same relative permeability mr


Eddy Current Transducers A circular flow of electronics (eddy current) will be induced within the metal plate when it moves across a constant magnetic field is stationary and exposed to a time vary magnetic field Strength of eddy current increases with strength of magnetic field and frequency of the magnetic flux Metallic object presents as a load to the magnetic field source In an eddy current transducer probe, a coil is is driven by a RF oscillator ( 1 to 100MHz) to generate a radiating magnetic field The metallic object in the proximity will be induced an eddy current, thereby loading down the magnetic field from the coil and changes its inductance


The inductance of the active coil is compared to a second reference coil (also located in the probe) with the use of a bridge circuit
Compensating (Measurand) Coaxial Coil x Cable Target Impedance Bridge Object Demodulator Conducting Low-Pass Filter Surface RF Signal (100 MHz) Active Radio Freq. Coil Converter (Oscillator)

Output Calibrating vo Unit

Non contact Non ferrous Requires a bridge and demodulation circuit Output not linear with displacement Sensitivity increases with resistivity of object

20 V DC Supply Bridge Output (to Demodulator)

C Compensating Coil Active Coil C L

RF Generator



L + L R1 R2
HTM File

Calibration unit generally required (linearized output possible)


3. Permanent-Magnet Transducers for Velocity Measurement For measurement of both rectilinear and angular velocities Can be either a DC or AC type Application of Faradays law for linear velocity measurement
HTM File HTM File

DC output linearly proportional to velocity An alternate implementation: use a stationary magnet to generate a constant magnetic field and attach the coil to the moving object Normally comes in a stainless package for shielding from stray magnetic fields Sensitivity ~ 0.5V / inch per second


DC tachometer for angular speed measurement Permanent magnet mounted inside housing to generate a fixed magnetic field Coil mounted on rotor which is connected to object through the rotating shaft Coil voltage made available to outside world with use of a brush and commutator For a constant magnetic field of flux density B, the output voltage of the tachometer is



Permanent Magnet


Rotating Coil

h Rotating Coil 2r

Ripple voltage appears at the output due to brush / commutator arrangement Sensitivity 5 ~ 10 V / 1000 RPM


AC Induction Tachometer 1 primary and 1 secondary stator winding orthogonal to each other Shorted rotor coil coupled to rotary object AC carrier drives primary winding V ref =
V a sint

With a stationary rotor, V o = 0 With rotor spinning at c , flux distribution is changed No brush/commutator is needed Typical carrier frequency 60 and 400Hz > 10 Sensitivity up to 10V / 1000RPM


Variable-Capacitance Displacement Transducers The capacitance made up of 2 parallel plates is

kA C= x

A x

A overlapping area x distance of separation k dielectric constant (permittivity) = r o

Capacitance Bridge vo DC Output vo Fixed Plate A

Capacitance Bridge Moving Plate (e.g., Diaphragm)

Capacitance Bridge Fixed Plate


Position x

Fixed Plate


Level h


Rotating Plate


kA K = x x


kwh + o w ( l - h) x


An inverting amplifier can be used to linearize the output voltage for a capacitive transverse displacement sensor v C
vo = ref ref

C = K/x Cref
A + +

Supply Voltage vref

Output vo

Vref can be up to 25KHz for high-bandwidth measurement

A simpler circuit to calculate x (slow changing)

i = d (CVo )

vr ef - vo R

From magnitude:

From phase:


Capacitance Bridge Compensation Circuit Sensor capacitance may change due to a change of it operating environment, such as humidity, temperature, pressure ..
Compensator Sensor 1 Z1 = Z1 Z2 jC 1 AC Excitation
v +

Z2 =

1 jC 2
Bridge Output

vref = va sint


Bridge Completion

vref - v Z1 vref - v Z3

vo - v + = 0, Z2 0 - v + = 0, Z4

vo =

( Z4 Z 3 - Z 2 Z1 ) 1 + Z4 Z3
Z4 Z = 2 Z3 Z1


vo = 0

when bridge is balance

If Z 2 = Z 2 + dZ then

vref dvo = dZ Z 1(1 + Z 4 Z 3 )


Differential (Push-Pull) Capacitance Displacement Sensor A more convenient way of measuring displacement using the bridge Consists of 2 fixed plates and 1 movable plate centered in between Z 4 = Z 3 when displacement = 0 If center plated is moved to the right by dx , then
Z3 = 1 = jC 3 x - x , jK Z4 = 1 = jC 4 x + x jK

We can connect Z 3 and Z 4 to the bridge circuit with Z 1 = Z 2 as compensating elements

vo =

( Z 4 Z 3 - Z 2 Z1 ) 1 + Z4 Z3


vo =

( Z 4 Z 3 - 1) 1 + Z4 Z3



Z - Z 4 3 v = ref Z4 + Z3

vo =

dx v x ref


Capacitive Sensor Applications Probes come in different sizes and shapes for different applications Measurement of thickness of an automobile brake pad Liquid nitrogen level measurement Measurement of chest wall movement Sensitivity in the order of 1pF /mm


A Crystal structure of a material is a unique arrangement of its molecules in a special way

Cubic crystal structure of the PZT lead zirconate-titanate molecule below the Curie temperature

Above the Curie temperature, the positively charged Ti/Zr ion shifts from its central location

Groups of molecular dipoles align within small areas, or domains, to form large dipole moments after sintering

Domain dipoles align in the direction in line with the external electric field at elevated temperatures


Piezoelectric characteristics exhibited by the treated PZT: When a mechanical stress is applied (when squeezed or stretched), to a piezoelectric substance, it produces an electric charge

A mechanical deformation (shrinking or expansion) will result when an electric field is applied

Piezoelectric sensors make use of these effects: pressure and strain measurement, touch screens sensing, accelerometers, .. Actuator applications : piezoelectric valves, micro linear motor


Piezoelectric Sensor Model

Z =

1 jC

High output impedance several MW at around 100Hz and decreases with frequency Charge sensitivity -With a fixed area A --

Sq =

q F 1 q Sq = A p

Voltage sensitivity change in voltage due to a unit increment in pressure (or stress) per unit thickness of crystal

Sv =

1 v d p

S q = kSv


Piezoelectric Material Sensitivities

Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) Barium Titanate Quartz Rochelle Salt

Charge Sensitivity Sq (pC/N)

110 140 2.5 275

Voltage Sensitivity Sv (mV.m/N)

10 6 50 90


Piezoelectric Accelerometers For measurement of acceleration, shock or vibration A mass when subject to an external force will experience an acceleration f = Ma a = f/M Many different accelerometer types
Sensing element is a piezoelectric crystal bonded to a mass


Direction of Sensitivity (Input)

A spring is used to keep the sensing element under compression at all times A metal enclosure provides protection to sensor

Inertia Mass Piezoelectric Element

Output vo


When subject to a vibration, the charge developed

q = Sq F = Sq Ma


Typical accelerometer sensitivities 10pC/g 5mV/g


Lower frequency limited by signal conditional system, mounting method, charge leakage, SNR, etc

Accelerometer Signal (dB)

Very high resonant frequency due to high stiffness of spring and low mass

Useful Range

5,000 20,000 Frequency (Hz)

Some applications Computer hard drive protection Air bag deployment Predictive machinery maintenance


A charge amplified is used to : Convert the charge generated by the accelerometer to an voltage Eliminate load effect of the sensor by converting its high output impedance to a low output impedance for subsequent signal processing Assume open loop gain of opamp = K
&o &o v v & + C + Cc + C f q K K &o vo + vo K v &o + + =0 v K Rf
q C Rf Cf A vo/K

+ Output vo

For K in the order of 105 and larger


dv dq R f C f o + vo = R f dt dt
Rf s v o ( s) = q( s ) Rf Cf s + 1

Piezoelectric Sensor


Charge Amplifier

R f j vo ( j ) = q ( j ) R f C f j + 1


First order system with a time constant

c = R f C f

R f j vo ( j) = q ( j ) R f C f j + 1

Output = 0 when = 0 A piezoelectric sensor cannot be used for measuring a constant (DC) signals Output approaches to - 1 C f at very high frequencies


Strain Gages Strain -- amount of deformation per unit length of an object when a load is applied. L' - L dL
= L = L

Stress the force acting on a unit area in a solid

s= F A l A

l A

The electrical resistance of a conductor R =

resistivity length cross section area

When a conductor is subject to stain, the deformation will change its electrical properties stain gage
Direction of Sensitivity Foil Grid Backing Film

Solder Tabs (For Leads)

Crack growth measurement on foundation


l A dR d d ( l A) = + R l A R=
Change in resistance in material = change in resistivity + change in shape For linear deformations, the strain applied
dR dL = Ss = Ss R L S s gage factor or sensitivity

S s 2 ~ 6 for most metallic and 40 ~ 200 for semiconductor strain gages


Diverse measurement applications, can be used for measuring variables such as displacement, acceleration, pressure, temperature, liquid level, etc Strain-gage accelerometer inertia force on mass is measured with a strain gage at end of cantilever element. Can be used with a bimetal strip for temperature measurement
Housing Output vo Strain Member Cantilever Strain Gage m Seismic Mass Direction of Sensitivity (Acceleration)


Mounting Threads

Different foil-type gages


A Wheatstone bridge is often used to measure the change in resistance of the strain gage Any one or more resistor may be a strain gage
vo =

( R1 + R2 )

R3 vref
( R3 + R4 )
vref R1 R = 3 R2 R4

( R1 R4 - R2 R3 )

( R1 + R2 )( R3 + R4 )

= 0

when the bridge is balanced

Current to load is 0 for all RL Case 1:

R2 = R3 = R4 = R


R1 = R + dR

2 ( R + d R ) R R ( v dvo = ( R + dR + R )( R + R ) ref


dR R
= (4 + 2 dR R )

non linear!

For small dR R ,


dR 4R


Case 2:
R3 = R4 = R


R1 = R + dR, R2 = R - dR

( R + d R ) R - ( R - dR ) R v dvo = ( R + dR + R - dR )( R + R ) ref

dvo vref

dR 2R


Case 3:
dvo vref

R3 = R - dR R4 = R + dR


R1 = R + dR, R2 = R - dR

dR R



The general case:

For maximum bridge sensitivity:

vo dR = vref R
when R1 = R 4 = R + dR, and R 2 = R 3 = R - dR

For the bridge with a single active element

dvo vref
dR 4R


= k

dR 4R

Bridge constant :

k =

k =

bridge output in the general case = 1, 2, 4 bridge output when only 1 strain gage is active


Poissons Ratio (Example 4.12) When a piece of material is stretched in one direction, it tends to get thinner in the other two directions. Poissons ratio v = t a
= Tt d Tt
La Tt Tt'
' L a

dL a La

(0 ~ 0.5 for most materials)

Lets say we want to measure the axial strain applied to a square rod: 1 opposite pair of strain gages mounted axially
R1 = R4 = R

a second pair mounted in the transverse direction R = R = -vR

2 3


= 2(1 + v )

dR 4R

k = 2(1 + v )


Calibration constants
v o
vref = C

C calibration constant of the strain gage bridge Ss strain gage sensitivity

R = Ss R


= k

dR 4R

k bridge constant

v o 1 R 1 = = vref C R Ss


k S 4 s

v o 4 1 vref k S s

Sb =

v o R

Bridge sensitivity


Semiconductor Strain Gages Sensing element made of piezoresistive material such as germanium or silicon doped with impurity (boron) Much higher sensitivity than metallic foil type ( 40 200) High resistivity (several K W) lower power consumption + lower heat generation
Gold Leads Single Crystal of Semiconductor

Conductor Ribbons

Low hysteresis they return more readily to their original shapes. Brittle and difficult to mount on curved surfaces Higher temperature coefficient Maximum strain less than 0.001m/m More expensive than metal foil type

Phenolic Glass Backing Plate


Nonlinear strain-resistance relation can be approximated by

R = S1 + S2 2 R

P-type SC gages

N-type SC gages


Strain-Gage Torque Sensors Strain gages can be used to measure the torque developed on a torsion member in a rotary drive system Assume a circular shaft torsion member

r T 2GJ

principal strain at 45o to shaft axis shaft radius torque transmitted through member shear modulus of shaft material F A = shear stress/shear strain = dx h polar moment of cross section area of 4 torsion member = p r 2 used to predict resistance to torsion

2GJ T = r

r T G

T =

8GJ vo kS s r v ref


Strain-gage configuration for a circular shaft torque sensor

Bridge Constant K

Axial loads and bending loads are compensated in all cases


Deflection Torque Sensors Torque can be determined by measuring the twist angle on the torsion member

Use a synchro-transformer and couple the 2 rotors to the torsion member Use two variable inductance probes to measure the positions of the teeth in the 2 ferromagnetic wheels Phase shift between the 2 pulse trains represents the twist angle

Both magnitude and direction of torque can be determined

A direct-deflection torque sensor


Variable-reluctance Torque Sensor Operations similar to that of a LVDT Signal coupling changes with positions of the 2 slits controlled by developed torque Shaft made of non-magnetic material with a 3-section ferromagnetic tubing attached Widths of gap openings depend on magnitude and direction of torque Reluctance changes with gap width and therefore signal coupling


Strain-gage Force Sensors (Load Cells) Convert the force acting on them into electric signals Contains a number of strain gages bonded onto a mechanical structure (typically stainless steel) for complete connection to a Wheatstone bridge Temperature compensation over a certain range
Available in different mechanical styles for different (typically harsh) force measurement applications

HTM File


Tactile Sensing (4.10) For force distribution measurement over an area Closely spaced force sensor array can be used In robotic grasping, object has to be held without slipping nor falling For object identification, including shape, location, orientation and surface properties Typical industrial tactile sensing requirements
Spatial resolution of about 2 mm

Force resolution of about 2 gm Force capacity of about 1 kg Response time of 5 ms or less Low hysteresis (low energy dissipation) Durability under harsh working conditions Robustness and insensitivity to change in environmental conditions Capability to detect and even predict slip


Optical Tactile Sensors Distance of separation x can be determined from optical receiver output

Principle of optical proximity sensor

Flexible tactile element consists of a reflecting surface sandwiched between a touch pad and a transparent rubber layer Optical fibers uniformly and rigidly mounted normal to inner layer pad for light projection Light projected onto reflecting surface through beam splitter and optical fiber An image camera picks up the reflected light beam for tactile force distribution analysis


An Optical Tactile Sensor with Localized Light Source and Photo-sensors Light source / receiver pair and movable pins distributed on tactile sensing pad Movable pin moves down and blocks the light path when tactile force is applied


Piezoresistive Tactile Sensors Use an array of semiconductor strain gages mounted under the touch pad on a rigid base Concept to demonstrate how to determine the magnitude and location of a point force applied to a sensing surface Force equilibrium in the z axis: Y-axis moment balance: X-axis moment balance:
Px = R2a + R3a Py = R3a + R4a P = R1 + R2 + R3 + R4

x =

a ( R + R3 ) P 2 a y = ( R + R4 ) P 3


Laser Interferometer For accurate displacement measurement down to sub-micron level Part of the laser beam is reflected back from front face of beam splitter A The other part of the beam travels an extra distance of 2x caused by reflection of target object Phase different between these 2 components f = 2 x 2

HTM File


Laser Doppler Interferometer For accurate measurement of speed of a moving object A light source with frequency f (say, 5 x 1014 Hz), when reflected by a moving target will experience a shift of f 2 = f + f For v = 10 m/s , f 32MHz f can be determined by observing the fringe pattern due to light wave interference Let the 2 waves
v1 = asin2p f 1t v 2 = asin2p f2t

f 2 = f + f

f =


v = kv

f2 t ) v = v1 + v2 = a ( sin2p f1t + sin2p ( f2 - f1 )t ( f2 + f1 )t cosp = 2a sinp

beat frequency = f


Ultra Sound Sensors Use a piezoelectric disk to transmit sound waves when pulsed with an electric signal burst Sound waves echoed by an object converted back to an electric signal Distant between sensor and target is ct
x = 2

t - time of flight of sound pulse from generator to receiver c - speed of sound in media


Most applications use ultrasound sensors in transceiver mode Blind zone caused by sound waves transmission in progress Come in different packaging styles


Fish finding Collision avoidance Seabed mapping


Pressure Sensors

p - pref = gh

Counterbalance piston
p = F A

Bourdon tube


Helical tube



Flow Sensors

Orifice flow meter

Pilot tube

Angular-momentum flow meter

Coriolis velocity meter



Temperature Sensors Thermocouple Electron configuration due to heat transfer produces voltage-Seebeck effect Two metals Fe and Constantan, Cu and Constantan, Chrome and Alumel Sensitivity 10mV/oC Fast measurement (e.g., 1ms) measures from -250oC to 300oC Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) Metal element in a ceramic tube resistance changes with the temperature Metals used Platinum, Nickel, Cu useful temperature rage from -200oC to 800oC Thermistor Unlike an RTD, thermistor is made of semiconductor materials Has a negative change in resistance with temperature Has better accuracy, more robust, faster response, and higher sensitivity than than RTD, but far more nonlinear


Rating Parameters of Sensors and Transducers

Transducer Measurand Measurand Frequency Max Min
10 Hz/ DC

Output Impedance
Low Moderate Low

Typical Resolution
0.1 nun 0.001 nun or less 2 min.



Potentiometer LVDT Resolver

Displacement Displacement Angular displacement Vel ocity Displacement

0.1% 0.1% 0.2%

200 mV/nun 50 mV/uun 10 mV/deg

2,500 Hz/ DC 500 Hz/ DC (limite.d by excitation freq.) 500 Hz/ 100 kHz/ DC DC

Tachometer Eddy ctm ent proximity sensor Piezoelectric accelerometer Semiconductor strain gage Loadcell Laser Optical encoder

Moderate (50Q) Moderate

0.2 nmlfs O.OO!nun 0.05% full sc.ale l nun/s2

0.5% 0.5%

5 mV/nmJ!s
75 mV/rad/s 5 V/nun

Acceleration (and velocity, e.tc.) Strain (displacement, acceleration, etc.) Force (10 - 1000 N) Displacement/ Shape Motion





0.5 mV/ m/s2

1kHz/ DC (limited by fatigue) 500 Hz/ 1kHz/ 100 kHz/ DC DC DC


l -lO)t (l)t=10-6 unity strain) 0.0 1 N 1.0 pm 10 bit


I V/ max 2000)t l mV/N I V/nun 10 4 Pulses/rev.

Moderate I OOQ 500Q

0.05% 0.5%

Yl bit


Chapter 5

Digital Transducers

A measuring device that produces an output in a digital format, or in form of a pulse train, or a frequency, that is proportional to the physical input For an analog transducer, both the sensor stage and the transducer stage are analog in nature For a digital transducer, the sensor stage is typically analog. The transducer stage generates the discrete output signal Key Advantages of Digital Transducers Digital signals are less susceptible to noise or other operation parameters, such as temperature, supply voltage, aging, etc higher reliability! Output signals can be processed with the use of high speed computers or digital electronics more flexibility compare to analog processing! Fast data transmission and high data volume storage possible More compact and lower cost in general Resolution inferior compared to its analog counterpart


Shaft Encoders Digital transducers for measuring angular displacement or velocities. Can be either a standalone unit or integrated in a motor assembly Output is a pulse signal and can be either the absolute encoder type (digital word output) or incremental type (pulse train output) Different implementation techniques: -- Optical -- Sliding contact -- Magnetic saturation -- Proximity sensing

Anaheim Automation Optical encoder $27 - $67 each


Optical shaft encoder A code disk with a fixed number of transparent windows is fixed on the motor shaft Optical path between LED and light light senor is chopped to produce a pulse train as the disk rotates Angular displacement can be determined by counting the number of pulses Angular velocity can be determined by counting the number of pulses within a fixed timing window Resolution dependent on number of transparent windows: 40, 200, 400, . 12000 A transparent disk with opaque spots are common for high resolution encoders


Sliding Contact Type Transducer disk made of insulation material with coated with metal conducting segments evenly spaced to make up the encoder track All conducting segments are connected by wires to the DC supply source via the shaft and brush commutator A sliding contact makes a connection each metal segment as the disk rotates Advantages are high sensitivity and low cost Disadvantages are friction, wear, contact bounce and contact oxidation


Magnetic Encoders Encoder disk made of nonferromagnetic material High strength magnetic strips are imprinted around the disk to form the encoder track A micro-transformer is used as the pick-off element whose primary coil is driven by an AC carrier (100KHz typical) The presence of a magnetic strip will saturate the core of the transformer and reduce its reluctance causing its output voltage to drop Non-contact but more expensive than other types due to pick-off element and demodulation circuitry


Proximity Sensor Encoders Use a magnetic induction probe or an eddy current probe as the signal pick-off element Encoder disk has imprinted raised spots to form the encoder track For magnetic induction probe, disk and raised spots are made of ferromagnetic material Raised spots decrease probe reluctance with an increase in output voltage For eddy current probe, raised spots are plated with conducting materials


Incremental Optical Encoders 2 possible configurations :1) Offset sensor 2) Offset track configuration Reference pulse for finding the home position of the encoder 2 photodiode sensors (pick-off 1 and 2) are spaced half the window length (quarter pitch) apart
CW rotation if V1 lags V2 by 90o (V2 is high when V1 goes high )

CCW rotation if V1 leads V2 by 90o (V2 is low when V2 goes high)


We can also use a high speed counter to determine the direction of rotation Counter starts to count when V1 high until V2 goes high (count value = n1) Counter starts to count from zero when V2 goes high and stops when V1 goes high (count value = n2) CW rotation if n1 > n2 CCW rotation if n2 > n1






Internal hardware of a high resolution incremental encoder

Masking disk enhances signal reception strength and discriminates noise To avoid errors (reading light as no light) due to instabilities and changes in supply voltage another photosensor is placed half pitch away


Displacement Measurement If M is the number of pulses that represent the maximum angular displacement of max ( + 180o or 360o typical), then for a pulse count n, the displacement is n
= M max

Suppose the pulse count is stored in a register with r bits with 1 bit used as the sign bit,
M = 2r -1

Displacement resolution For max = 180


Digital resolution
d =
180o 2
r -1

360o 2r

Minimum count min

all zeros;

Maximum count max

max = min + (2r -1 - 1) d

all ones

max = min + ( M - 1) d

Digital resolution


Physical Resolution For a single track encoder disk with N windows, the angular separation between 2 windows is 360o N Can be detected by counting 2 consecutive rising edges of the encoder output pulse By counting both the rising and falling edges of the encoder output pulse, the angular resolution is 360o 2 N
By counting both the rising and falling edges of two encoder output signals that are offset by half a window, the physical resolution 360o p = 4N

If the moving object whose displacement to be monitored is geared up to to the encoder by a ratio p, 360o p = 4 pN Output resolution of an encoder can further be increased by using interpolation technique (about 20 times increase in resolution)


Velocity Measurement and Resolution 2 Methods in measuring angular velocity using an incremental encoder: 1) Count the number of encoder pulses elapsed over a fixed period of time If there are N windows on the encoder track and n pulses have been detected over a period T, then the angular speed is 2 n 2n = N = T NT The velocity resolution in this counting mode corresponds to a change of n from 0 to 1 2) Measure the time duration of a encoder pulse using a fixed, high frequency clock (of f Hz ) 2 2f = N = m f Nm Velocity resolution Fixed period = T

n pulses

c =

2 NT

m clock periods

2f 2f t = 2f = ; Nm N (m + 1) Nm(m + 1)

2f = N2 2f Nm 2


Absolute Optical Encoders Generates a coded digital word to represent each discrete angular position of its code disk Example of a binary absolute encoder with 4 encoder tracks representing 16 sectors Use a separate reflective type of LED/ photodiode pair for reading the code on each track


Gray code -- a binary numbering scheme in which two successive values differ by only 1 bit Avoids faulty interpretation of encoder disk position due to different switching speeds of optical sensing devices
360o Encoder resolution is = n 2

Angular velocity can be determined by measuring the time interval between 2 successive code values A reading indicates absolute angular position -- error in missing pulse not accumulative (like the incremental encoder) Position reading still maintained after power failure Code matrix on disk more complex and therefore lower resolution than the incremental encoder More expensive than incremental encoder due to the need of more light sensors


Encoder Error 1. Quantization error (due to digital word size limitations) 2. Manufacturing tolerances ( inexact positioning of the pick-off sensor, inaccurately imprinted code patterns, irregularities in signal generation 3. Coupling error (gear backlash, belt slippage, loose fit, etc) 4. Structure limitations (disk deformation and shaft deformation due to loading) 5. Ambient effects (vibration, temperature, light noise, smoke, etc) 6. Assembly error (eccentricity of rotation, etc.) a) Shaft eccentricity rotating shaft does not line up with its geometric axis (es) b) Assembly eccentricity -- center of code disk does not fall on the shaft axix (ea) c) Track eccentricity -- center of track circle does not coincide with geometric center of the disk (et) d) Radial play -- looseness in the assembly of the disk and the shaft in the radial direction (ep)



m s = mean value of shaft eccentricity error es m a = mean value of assembly eccentricity error ea m t = mean value of track eccentricity error et

mp = mean value of radial play error ep

The root mean square for these 4 sources of error is

2 2 2 + + + m2 m m m s a t p

The standard deviation of the overall eccentricity is

s =
2 2 2 s2 s + sa + st + s p

The probability that the eccentricity error of an encoder that falls within - 2 and + 2 is 95.5%


Miscellaneous Digital Transducers Digital Resolver -- operations like that of the analog resolver using the principle of mutual induction Consists of a rotor disk and a stator disk Fine electric circuit patterns are etched in copper bonded to the surface of the disks
Rotor disk circuit is driven by an AC carrier through slip-ring and brush

Stator disk has 2 separate printed patterns that are offset by a quarter pitch AC carrier is inductively coupled to the secondary foils to produce quadrature signals when the rotor disk rotates




Demodulation necessary to convert outputs to digital signals Resolution up to 0.0005o Slip ring and brush needed to connect carrier to primary foil More expensive that optical encoders
Well suited to severe industrial environments


Digital Tachometers Use a tooth wheel instead of an encoder disk Ferromagnetic teeth wheel when used magnetic induction probe

Magnetic induction probes mounted radially facing the teeth and offset by half a tooth position Teeth lowers reluctance of magnetic probe and increase its inductance Can use eddy current probes instead of magnetic induction probes teeth surface will have to be coated with conducting material Non contact, simple, immunity to environmental effect (except magnetic effect) Poor resolution, mechanical errors due to loading, hysteresis, and irregularities Requires signal conditional and demodulation circuitry


Hall Effect Sensors An output voltage (Hall voltage) will be generated across a current-carry piece of semiconductor material when it is placed in a magnetic field perpendicular to the current flow in the material Hall voltage
VH = IB n qt

I -- current B magnetic field density q -- charge of an electron t -- thickness of material

n -- number of charge carriers

per unit volume A Hall-effect shaft encoder or digital tachometer


Available in form of an IC package for generating either a linear or digital output

A linear Hall effect sensor IC

Non contact, rugged, relatively insensitive to change of common environmental factors except for stray magnetic field, high reliability Output not linearly related to the displacement of a magnetic object Applications: vehicle speed sensing, ABS brake systems


Rectilinear Optical Encoder Operations similar to the optical shaft encoder except: -- mask is in form of a narrow stationary strip mounted along the direction of movement of object -- a linear encoder track (code plate) plus 2 LED / photodetector pairs are mounted on the moving object as one assembly The 2 photodetectors are offset by a quarter pitch window to produce the quadrature signals as the object moves Requires protection from dusty environment !


Cable Extension Sensors For measuring rectilinear motion especially with large excursions (up to 50 meters) Uses a spool and cable coupled to an angular motion sensor with the end of cable attached to the moving object When the object moves away from the sensor, the cable extends, causing the spool to rotate Sensor can be a multi-turn potentiometer or an optical encoder Cable is retracted without slack by the auto-tensioner when the object moves towards the sensor Disadvantages include mechanical loading, time delay in measurements, cable slack, and tensile deformation Applications: lift control, automobile crash testing, manufacturing automation, underwater depth measurement?


Binary Transducers

Electromechanical limit switch

Ultrasound (5 to 1000cm)

Photoelectric devices

Capacitive device

Eddy current Inductive device


Digital Transducer Selection Criteria 1. Sensing range 2. Response time 3. Sensitivity 4. Linearity 5. Size and shape of the object 6. Material of the object 7. Orientation and alignment 8. Ambient conditions 9. Signal conditioning considerations 10.Reliability, robustness, and design life


Chapter 1 (Sen) Magnetic Circuits When a conductor carries current, a magnetic field of intensity H is produced by it. (Right hand rule). Amperes circuit law: the line integral of the magnetic field intensity H around (tangential to) a closed path is equal to the total current linked by the contour. H


where is the angle between H and dl For a single conductor carry a current i, the magnetic field intensity generated by it at a distance r is


i 2 r



When the closed path is threaded by the current N times,

Ni is called the magnetomotive force (mmf) And its unit is Ampere-turn (At) B H Relationship As the magnetic field intensity H exits, it produces a magnetic flux density B, so that
B = H weber / m2 ( tesla)

-- permeability of material -- relative permeability of material 2000 -- 6000 for ferromagnetic materials -- permeability of free space 410-7 Henry/meter

B = r o H weber / m2


Magnetic Equivalent Circuit Applying Amperes law to the circuit:

H l = Ni = F N H= i l mNi B= l


At /m T

Assuming zero leakage flux, the flux cutting the cross section area A

= B dA = BA
Ni Ni = A = l l A


Ni F =


There is an equivalence between an electric circuit and a magnetic circuit:

Electric Circuit Emf (E) i = E/R

R = l sA

Magnetic Circuit Mmf (F)

-- conductivity of resistive element

-- permeability of magnetic element P = 1/ -- permeance

G = 1 / R -- conductance

We therefore tend to model a magnetic circuit with its corresponding electric counterpart when performing magnetic circuit analysis


Magnetization Curve

When the current driving the toroid is increased, the resulting flux density becomes saturated at an high H Reluctance depends on flux density! Shape of curve dependent on properties of medium. Note: to develop a certain level of flux density B*, you need a different amount of current for a different material.


Magnetic Circuit with Air Gap Composite structure a magnetic circuit with more than 1 media
c = lc m cAc
Ni c + g
Fc Ac

g =

lg m oA g

F =

N i = H c lc + H glg

Bc =

Bg =

Fg Ag


Neglecting fringing effect,

A g = Ac

Bg = Bc =

F Ac

Motors and generators are designed with an airgap between the rotor and stator.


Example 1 A primitive relay, with a coil of 500 turns, a mean core path of 36 cm and a gap length of 1.5 mm. The core is cast steel. The relay activates at a flux density in the core of .8 tesla. a. Calculate i. b. Compute m and mr of core. c. Find the coil current to maintain a flux density of 0.8T when the air gap is zero.
1.5mm 36cm 500 =


Example 2 Find Bg .
1 mm 4A 36cm 500 =


Example 1.3
mr = 1200

Neglect magnetic leakage and fringing All dimensions in cm Square cross section for material Find F


H at the air gap.


Inductance An inductor can be formed by winding a coil with N turns on a magnetic core. Flux linkage Inductance Therefore,
l = NF

L= l

HA L = N F = NBA = N m i i i
Hl N

= N l m A

Schematic diagram of a self-induction proximity sensor


Hysteresis -- property of a magnetic material that does not return completely to its original state after an applied force is removed. a a g b Assume unmagnetized core at f 0 t = 0 and apply i slowly to c e d circuit -- B-H curve starts from 0 to a and returns to c (where B = Br ) when i (H) 0.
-- Br residual flux density

-- i (H) now reverse in direction to d where B = 0 at H = -Hc (coercivity) -- B-H curve forms an unclosed loop through path 0abcdefga -- B-H curve forms an almost closed loop after a few more cycles (hysteresis loop) Magnetization curve a plot of the tips of a family of hysteresis loops from different values of H.


Hysteresis Loss Assume no resistance loss in the coil, the voltage e Across the coil is dF
e =N

The energy transfer during the interval t1 to t2 is

W = t 2 p dt = t 2 ei dt t1 t1
F N i dF = N d F i dt = F dt
2 1


F = BA



Hl N


W = B 2 N H l A d B N B1

= lA B 2 H d B = V cor e B 2 H d B B1 B1

The energy transferred over 1 cycle is

cy cle

= V cor e H dB = V cor e X W h

Energy density

Power loss due to hysteresis

P h = V cor e W h f n f = K h Bm ax


Eddy Current Loss A change of magnetic field density will induce a current ie (eddy current) to flow in it. Heat generation as a result of i 2R loss The eddy current loss in a magnetic core is
2 Pe = K e B m f2 ax

To reduce eddy current loss: 1. Increase resistivity of core material. 2. Construct core with thin laminations with a layer of insulation between every two of them. Laminations should be orient in parallel to direction of flux.


Core Loss Total core loss = hysteresis loss + eddy current loss

Pc = P h + Pe
n = K h Bm f ax

2 K e Bm f2 ax

If frequency of current change is low, loss would be mainly due to hysteresis. If frequency of current change is high, loss will be due to both hysteresis and eddy current. Usually, these 2 losses are lumped together when analyzing heat loss in machine design.


Sinusoidal Excitation ( E -- F )

Assume sinusoidal flux variation within the magnet core

F( t ) = Fm ax sinwt
Voltage induced in the coil
e = N dF dt

= N Fm ax wcos wt

= E m ax cos wt

The RMS value of the induced voltage is

Er m s =

Em ax

N wFm ax

= 4.44 Nf Fm ax


Sinusoidal Current Excitation ( i -- ) A sinusoidal voltage source e generating an exciting current i F will produce a sinusoidal flux F in the core. Assume -- R in coil = 0 -- magnetic core has a non linear B-H characteristics -- no hysteresis loop How is i F related to e ? Lets first rescale the original B-H curve to obtain the F - i curve:



Hl N


1. Plot e and F VS t.

2. Plot i F VS t by extrapolating from F - i curve. Observations: i F is non sinusoidal, but is in phase with F . i F is symmetrical with respect to e. the fundamental component i F 1 lags e by 90o . can be represented by a pure inductor (no real power loss).


Same analysis as before except with hysteresis loop

Exciting current i F obtained from sinusoidal flux waveform and multivalued F - i curve. Observations: i F is non sinusoidal, nonsymmetrical wrt e. i F consists of 2 components: 1. i c accounts for core loss 2. i m same as without hysteresis loop circuit can be modeled with an ideal inductor in parallel with a resistor


Magnetization of Permanent Magnets Permanent magnets are characterized by: Capable of maintaining a magnetic field without any excitation mmf Normally alloys of iron, nickel, and cobalt. Large B H loop with a high retentivity ( Br ) and a high coercive force ( Hc) Mechanical hardness due to heat treatment hard iron


-- Assume hard iron initially unmagnetized -- Gradually increase mmf from point 0 to A and remove source -- Flux density will remain at point a with residual flux density Br -- With mmf gradually reversed to H1, flux density drops to point b -- Minor loop operating path with mmf removed and reapplied. loop b-c (recoil line) -- Slope of recoil line recoil permeability mr ec = 1.2 - 5 mo

-- With mmf further reversed to H2 and removed, flux density moves between point d and e -- Hard iron completely demagnetized when H = - Hc


Want to determine size of permanent magnet to product B g across air gap!

H m lm + H glg = 0; Hg
= -

lm H lg m

For continuity of flux, Since B g = m oH g , B m =

F = Bm A m = B g A g

B gA g

m o

A g lm Hm Am lg

Volume of permanent magnet is

V m = A m lm

B g Ag

H glg Hm

2V Bg g = m oBm H m

where V g = A glg

is the volume of the air gap

Minimum volume of magnet required to produce Bg across the airgap (Vg) is when BmHm is a maximum. BmHm Energy product


Demagnetization Curves of Permanent Magnets Alnico 5 Ferrite D (Ceramic) Rare earth

Alloy of aluminum Strontium or barium nickel-cobalt ferrite Excellent temperature stability High residual flux Low residual flux Low coercivity High coercivity Mechanically brittle Mechanically brittle Low cost Low cost

Sm-Co higher T (300o) operation, more corrosion and oxidation tolerant than Nd-Fe-B Highest energy prodcut (BH) max Extremely brittle(Sm-Co) Higher cost