Dynamic Force Measurement Sensors and Their Specifications
Force transducers, also known as force sensors or load cells, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and capacities, ranging from a fraction of an ounce to hundreds of tons. They convert applied mechanical forces into electrical output signals, which are then sent to indicators, controllers, or computers that convey the useful information that has been gathered. While the first usage of force transducers came in the mid-1800s, modifications have been made to optimize the functionality of contemporary models. Over the past half century, force transducers have broadened their applications and evolved to measure intricate details. Early force sensors mostly relied on hydraulic sending pressure signals to indicator gauges. While this was a viable option for evaluating force measurements, these models were cumbersome and had difficulties recording information in cramped conditions. These days, there are many more options available to you, from the simple to the complex. Force transducers can be used in a variety of devices such as scales and blood pressure monitors, and they can use digital or analog outputs. Since force measurement can be conducted in several ways, the force transducers on today’s market have specified uses and advantages.
Pressure-Sensitive Force Transducers
Hydraulic load cells are one of the most utilized force transducer types. Their durability and availability attract a substantial number of customers. Hydraulic load cells are also advantageous in part because they are sealed systems. This provides the load cell resistance from contaminants that could potentially skew the information gathered by the force transducer. In addition to being contaminant-resistant, these load cells can also operate with no direct power supply since they have no electrical components. Hydraulic load cells are also useful in situations where large force transducer measurements are required such as tanks, bins and hoppers.
Pneumatic load cells are another type of pressure-sensitive force transducer. These force sensors utilize the force-balance principle in a similar way as the hydraulic load cells but rely on air instead of hydraulic fluid. These load cells are generally used to measure smaller weights in industries where safety and hygiene are paramount. Pneumatic load cells are also advantageous because they are explosion proof and inherently insensitive to temperature variations.
Strain Gage Load Cells
Force measurement load cells are the most common sensors, largely because they are fairly accurate, relatively inexpensive and can be used with high resolution indicators. Unlike the previous sensors that relied on the change in fluid pressure due to applied load, these sensors get their readings based on the change in electrical resistance of the strain gage. The force sensors themselves are bonded onto a beam or structural member that deforms when weight is applied. The distortion occurring on the mechanical member is then translated into data.
Piezoelectric Crystal Force Transducers
While some industries rely on precious materials, like diamonds for stonecutting, crystals have practical applications when it comes to force measurement. Some crystals exhibit particular phenomena when undergoing stress. When a force is applied to the crystal, it generates electric potential read in voltage. This voltage is proportional to load applied. This phenomenon has been used in force transducers, particularly for dynamic force measurements when the applied load changes at a rapid rate as in shock waves. These sensors do not need external power supplies like strain gage transducers. Despite the practicality of piezoelectric crystal force sensors, they do have some pitfalls. The disadvantages of these force sensors include needing special indicators, not being suitable for static loads, and an inherent sensitivity to temperature change.
Additional Types of Force Sensors
Recent developments in dynamic force measurement sensors include Oprical, Ultrasound, Magnetic, Capacitive, Inductive, and magneto-elastic sensors to name some. They are used to measure wind force on skyscrapers, forces in building foundations, bridge loads, rolling mill loads, thrust force of space craft boosters, etc.
Force Transducer Overview
With such a variety of force transducer options existing, choosing the correct unit for your needs may be daunting. While each force sensor has unique properties, strain gage load cells have the broadest number of applications at ideal prices. SensorData Technologies Inc. recommends consulting a professional before making a commitment to purchase a force transducer. Aside from our advisory services, our skilled team of research and development engineers are apt in brining your custom force sensor to life. Visit our website to learn more about force transducers or to receive help with a custom order!