Measuring Vibration? Know Which Sensor to Use

Measuring Vibration? Know Which Sensor to Use

Every object that moves is experiencing acceleration, but not every movement requires one type of accelerometer to measure it. For applications that involve vibration, the type of accelerometer you need depends on the requirements of your project.

Force-balanced accelerometers

Force-balanced sensors are often used to test & control passenger trains

For Low Vibration Sensing

Force-balanced sensors use a pendulum and torque motor and MEMS accelerometers use chip-based technology to measure acceleration in ranges to +/- 40G with a resolution to 1 µg. Some MEMS units have a bandwidth of 400 Hz which means they can be used for low level vibration monitoring, but not higher levels.

The low bandwidth for these accelerometers is intended to prevent outside vibration from interfering with their acceleration readings. The force-balanced sensors are fluid-damped and the MEMS use micro controllers and low-pass filters to keep their frequencies low.

MEMS Accelerometer

A MEMS accelerometer is a low-cost option & includes bandwidths up to 400 Hz

These types of accelerometers can be used on projects such as aerospace or automobile testing, train controls, wind turbine controls and sea state monitoring. If the level of vibration in your project is greater than 400Hz, a different type of accelerometer may be what you need.

For High Vibration Sensing

You may come across a project that includes a higher level of vibration from what a force-balanced or MEMS sensor can offer. When the frequency of your project is greater than 400 Hz, you will need a sensor that is specifically meant for high vibration measurement. Piezoelectric sensors are designed based on the concept that voltage induced by pressure is proportional to the acting pressure. Using this method, the sensor can measure single or repetitive pressures such as vibration.

If your application demands a level of vibration no greater than 400 Hz, a force-balanced or MEMS accelerometer is a useful solution. If you’re looking for more information on which accelerometer is right for your project, talk to us.

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