Chapter-8

TRANSDUCERS

Topics to be discussed: Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic Transducers its advantages & Disadvantages. Introduction: •In a measurement system, the measurand (the quantity under measurement) makes its first contact with system through a detector. The measurand is converted into an analogous form by the detector. •The measurand or input signal is called information for the measurement system.

•The information may be in the form of a physical phenomenon or it may be an electrical signal.

•The function of the detector is to sense the information and convert it into a convenient form for acceptance by the later stages of the system. The process of detection & conversion of input signal from one form to another requires energy. •This energy may be extracted from the signal, thereby, causing loading effects. •If energy is extracted from the signal, it will not be reproduced after conversion leading to errors in measurement. •Energy is supplied to the detector from external sources so that the input signal is converted into a usable output without drawing an undue amount of energy from the signal.

•The ideal conversion will be when absolutely no energy is extracted from the signal so that it is not distorted and the analogous output of the detector is a faithful representation of the input signal.

TRANSDUCER

• A transducer is a device used to covert motional, thermal and optical signals into electrical quantities, that may be amplified, recorded and otherwise processed in the instrumentation system.
•Transducers are also known as prime sensors, gauges, pickups and signal generators. TYPES OF TRANSDUCERS With the fast developing technology various types of transducers have appeared for measurement of one particular quantity. The following are the types of transducers and the quantities to be measured.

1.Capacitive Transducers – for the measurement of Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Acceleration, Pressure, Flow, Humidity, Viscosity, Level, etc.

2.Electron tube Transducers – for the measurement of Displacement, Velocity, Acceleration & Pressure.
3.Inductive type of Transducers – for the measurement of Mass, Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Acceleration, Force, Pressure, and Flow. 4.Magneto-Electric Transducers – for the measurement of Mass, Displacement, Velocity, Acceleration, Pressure and Flow.

5.Photo Electric Transducers – for the measurement of Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Temperature, level and height.
6.Piezo Electric Transducers – for the measurement of mass, Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Acceleration, Force, Pressure, Flow, Viscosity, Level, etc. 7.Radio active Transducers - for the measurement of mass, Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Force, Pressure, Flow, Level, etc. 8.Resistance Transducers - for the measurement of mass, Displacement, Thickness, Velocity, Acceleration, Force, Pressure, Flow, Viscosity, Level, etc.

the sensed information. in measurements. These devices which sense the input & convert them into an analogous form are called „detector-transducer‟ . is to detect or sense the input signal and transfer it to the second stage. Thus. the information required is picked up from the source by the first stage detectors. like mechanical displacement into electrical voltage form.The basic function of first stage. Usually.. i. or sensor-transducer stage. the input is transduced into a convenient analogous form.e.

.Transfer Efficiency: The sensed input Iin and the transduced analogous form. Iout can be related as Iout = f (Iin) and transfer efficiency = Iout / Iin < 1 Transfer efficiency will always be less than unity. a transfer efficiency as high as possible is desired for accurate results. because of the losses in sensing and processing the input. In measurements.

and send the signal to the next stage are known as transducers. A secondary transducer. like a displacement as a result of measurement of displacement. the displacement of the primary transducer used in a Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) to produce an electrical output which can be amplified and used at the recorder. These are the basic elements of any measurement systems. etc. The primary transducer basically senses and sends the signal without any modification. This displacement is amplified in the second stage and used to indicate the reading in the third stage.PRIMARY & SECONDARY TRANSDUCERS: The devices which sense the input. force. which can be distinguished as primary and secondary transducers. They act in combination one after the other. based on the functions they perform. transform them to a convenient analogous form. works subsequent to a primary transducer receiving the input from it. temperature. For example. pressure. .

Bourdon pressure gage-Bourdon tube with this linkage). Generally first stage devices are a combination of detectors and transducers. 2. First stage elements used as detectors only. First stage elements used as detector with two transducers The elements used as detectors may be very simple. First stage elements used as detector and single transducer 3. like a mechanical spindle or a contact member that picks up and transmits the input to a secondary transducer. since transducing is essential for further stages (e.g. Based on its two functions.CLASSIFICATION OF FIRST STAGE DEVICES: First Stage Devices can be broadly classified as follows – 1. .

Primary Detector Transducer Secondary Transducer .first stage can be represented schematically as shown in figure 1.

For example.IAS – Intermediate analogous signal ADS . . the Electrical detector transducers can also be classified as active type and passive type. a piezoelectric accelerometer does not require any external source of energy. because it works on its own energy. Main advantage of this type is that its circuit design is simpler.Analogous driving signal ACTIVE AND PASSIVE TRANSDUCERS: Based on the input circuitry adopted and method of operation. hence require no external source of energy. ACTIVE TRANSDUCERS: Active transducers are those. which are self-powered.

. TYPES OF TRANSDUCERS WITH THEIR FUNCTIONS: The following table gives a list of some primary detector transducer elements generally used in measurements. a simple bonded wire strain gage using resistance bridge requires an auxiliary source of energy. along with their functions.PASSIVE TRANSDUCERS: Passive transducers are those which require an external source of energy for their operation. This type of transducer requires a complicated input design since it requires special arrangement to introduce the auxiliary energy. For example.

Liquid column Force to displacement Pressure to displacement Pressure to displacement Pressure to displacement C.Spismic mass 2. Diaphragm 4. Bourdon tube 3.Element Operation Mechanical : A. Pendulum 3. Liquid column Force to displacement Gravitational acceleration frequency or period Pressure to displacement to . pin or finger Displacement to displacement B. Elastic member 1. Helical spring 2. Mass 1. Contact spindle.

Hydro-pneumatic 1.Variable dimensions Displacement to resistance change Displacement to resistance change Temperature to resistance change Strain to resistance change . Orifice 3. Variable length/area 3. Chemicals Temperature to electric current Temperature to displacement Temperature to resistance change Temperature to chemical phase E. Variable resistivity 4. Bimaterial 3. Resistance 1. Pitot tube 4. Contact type 2. Thermistor 4. Thermo couple 2. Vanes Fluid level to displacement Fluid velocity to pressure change Fluid velocity to pressure change Velocity to force Electrical: A. Float 2. Thermal 1.D.

Moving core B. Changing plate area 3. Moving coil 5. Changing air gap 2. Variable dimensions 2.A. Inductance: 1. Piezoelectric Displacement to voltage or voltage to displacement D. Photoelectric Light intensity to voltage or voltage to displacement . Changing core position 4. Changing dielectric Displacement to change in induction Displacement to change in induction Displacement to change in induction Velocity to change in induction Velocity to change in induction Velocity to change in induction Displacement to change in capacity Displacement to change in capacity Displacement to change in capacity C. Variable air gap 3. Moving magnet 6. Capacitance 1.

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while electrical sensors transduce displacement to voltage/current/resistance change. the mechanical elements are used as primary transducers. In practice. . while electrical elements are used as secondary transducers.It can be seen from the list that. most mechanical sensors transduce the inputs to displacement.

Q] LIST THE ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRICAL TRANSDUCERS OVER MECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS The electrical transducer elements have many advantages over mechanical elements. Friction problems are negligible 4. Amplification or attenuation is easier 2.These are lighter and smaller compared to mechanical elements. . Mass-inertia effects are minimum 3. which are: 1. Remote indication/recording is feasible 6. Output power of desired magnitude is possible 5.

Capacitive.. The basic electrical change may be resistive. Photoelectric transducers. Variable inductance transducer elements. Piezoelectric transducers.ELECTRICAL TRANSDUCER ELEMENTS: These transducers converts mechanical displacement to voltage. The quantity of interest is first detected and transduced to displacement by some form of mechanical element. . 4. 5. Variable capacitance transducer elements. The most commonly used principles of operation employed are 1. etc. inductive. transforming the analogous displacement into an analog voltage or current. then the electric element serves as the secondary transducer. 2. 3. from which the voltage or current change results. Variable resistance transducer elements.

3. The effects of friction are minimized. 2.ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRICAL TRANSDUCER ELEMENTS: The following are the advantages of Electrical Transducer Elements 1. . Remote indication or recording is feasible. Amplification or attenuation may be easily obtained. An output with sufficient power for control may be provided. 5. Mass-inertia effects are minimized. The transducers are usually susceptible to miniaturization. 6. 4.

This is achieved by changing the value of L in the above equation. . R = L / A Where. ohms-cm. R = Resistance in ohms.1. L = length of conductor in cm A = cross-sectional area of conductor. In variable resistance transducers. cm2  = resistivity of material. mechanical displacement is converted into electrical output. such as voltage or current. VARIABLE RESISTANCE TRANSDUCER: The resistance of an electrical conductor varies according to the following relation.

such as voltage or current.A simple form of variable resistance transducer consists of a resistance element and sliding brush with guide [sliding contact resistive transducer]. L = length of conductor in cm A = cross-sectional area of conductor. cm2 . This is achieved by changing the value of L in the equation R = L / A Where. mechanical displacement is converted into electrical output. R = Resistance in ohms. SLIDING CONTACT RESISTIVE TRANSDUCER: In a sliding contact resistive transducer as shown in figure [1].

This is often referred to as a slide wire. .GUIDE ROD RESISTANCE WIRE SLIDER OR BUSH Fig-1 Variable resistance consisting of a wire and movable contractor or brush.

which changes its contact position on the resistance wire. when mechanical displacement is sensed by the slides along the guide rod. Also. the resistance elements are wrapped around a bar. there by changing the effective length of the resistor. and the turns are insulated so as to prevent shorting. analogous to the displacement. The contact brush slides from one turn to the next.” .The brush always maintains contact with the resistance element. This in turn leads to a change in the electrical output. the arrangement can be either to obtain a rectilinear movement or an arc with angular movement [Fig-2]. In operation. The angular motion devices are commonly called as “resistance potentiometers” or simply “Pots. Resistance Potentiometer: In practical applications.

FIG-2 RESISTANCE POTENTIOMETER .

. deviation limits are provided by calibration for better measurement results. However. i. hence.. one turn of the resistance wire to the total number of turns. a) High Potentiometer Resolution: It is the smallest resistance variation that can be achieved by the given pot. the resolution is equal to the ratio.When used as transducers.e. the resistance measured is a direct function of the position of the contactor over the resistance element. the two requirements are a high potentiometer resolution and linearity. in practice it is difficult to achieve a perfect linearity. b) Potentiometer Linearity: A pot is said to be linear when the variation in resistance is directly proportional to the position of the contactor. For a uniformly wound pot. for a potentiometer to be very effective in measuring the input quantity.

c. The central coil is energized from an external a. central one is primary and other two are secondary windings. voltage output proportional to the displacement of a core passing through the windings. It is a mutual-inductance device having three coils mounted on a hollow concentric non-magnetic form.LINEAR VARIABLE DIFFERENTIAL TRANSFORMER [LVDT]:  The most widely used inductive transducer to translate the linear motion into electrical signal is the linear variable differential transformer. One winding.  This is the most useful mutual inductance transducer which provides an a. .power source and the two secondary coils are connected together in phase opposition and act as output side. The construction of an LVDT is as shown in figure 4-8b.c.

hence the output depends upon the position of the core. In operation.c.supply and the two end coils are (secondary) connected together in opposite phases are used as pick up coils. it is called as “Liner Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT)”.The centre coil (primary) is energised from an external a.input is impressed on the primary coil.c. an a. . and an a.output voltage depending on the magnetic coupling between the core and the coils is obtained at the secondary coils. The core passing through the primary and secondary coils provides a magnetic coupling. Usually a linear range is specified for a differential transformer. and when the core is operated within this range. The magnetic coupling.c.

•FIG: LINEAR VARIABLE DIFFERENTIAL TRANSFORMER .

the phase relation existing between power source and output changes 180 through null. While the output voltage magnitudes are ideally the same for equal core displacements on null balance. there should be a core position for which the voltage induced in the secondary coils will be the same as that of the input and the resulting output should be zero. Within limits. to distinguish between outputs resulting from displacements on each side of null. It is therefore possible. core displacement results in a proportional output. the linear range is primarily dependent on the length of the secondary coils.Theoretically. through phase determination or by use of a phase-sensitive circuit arrangement. on either side of the null position. which shows output versus core movement. CHARACTERISTICS OF LVDT: Typical differential-transformer characteristics are illustrated in Figure. . In general. This position is called as “null position”. and is difficult to obtain in practice.

FIG: CHARACTERISTICS OF LVDT .

without the assistance of any elastic member. 2. 3.ADVANTAGES OF LVDT: 1. It is insensitive to temperature changes. since the core is completely separable from the device. 4. It cannot be overloaded. It gives high output without any intermediate amplification 5. It serves as a primary detector transducers. It is an economical device. . it converts mechanical displacement into a proportional electrical voltage.

When used with a strain gage. They are: 1. 3. which is the output. VARIABLE RELUCTANCE TRANSDUCERS: If is a inductance transducer having a permanent magnet as the core material around which a coil is wound.LIMITATIONS OF LVDT: In the field of dynamic measurements LVDT has some limitations. the core is of appreciable mass. if the direction from null is also required. compared to the bonded strain gage. a voltage is developed in the coil. 2. . Generally. It is designed for a specific input frequency. As the flux field expands or collapses. Any variation of the permeance of the magnetic circuit causes a change in the flux. The device becomes complicated. such transducers are limited to dynamic applications.

The characters of important piezoelectric materials are discussed below. Such materials also undergo the reverse process. etc. rochelle salt. and easy formability.e. CHARACTERISTICS OF PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS: None of the piezoelectric materials possesses all the desirable properties. insensitivity to temperature variations and humidity. they change their dimensions when an electrical potential is applied across. ordinary sugar. . This phenomenon of generating electrical potential due to change in dimensions is known as „piezoelectric effect‟. properly polarized barium titanate. such as stability. Examples of such materials are quartz.PIEZOELECTRIC TRANSDUCERS: Certain materials are capable of generating an electrical potential when they are subjected to mechanical deformations. i. high output.

It is of the order of 10. The element is then cooled and with the voltage applied and results in the element exhibiting Piezo effect . The magnitude of the voltage depends on the thickness of the element.The Element is heated to a temperature above the curie point of 120 degree centigrade and a high DC voltage is applied across the faces of the element.000 V/cm.

ROCHELLE SALT: Among the available materials. but has a very low output. Because of its high stability. Usually quartz is shaped into a thin disk. 2. . Rochelle salt gives the highest output but needs protection from moisture in the air and limited to use up to 450 C only. The disk thickness is so maintained that it provides a mechanically resonant frequency corresponding to the desired electrical frequency. An example is the barium titanate. QUARTZ: Quartz is the most stable material of all.1. and silvered an either faces for attaching the electrodes. BARIUM TITANATE: While Rochelle salt and quartz are monocrystalline. quartz is commonly used for stabilizing the electronic oscillators. The advantage of such a polycrystalline material is that it can be formed into any suitable size and shape. 3. there are some polycrystalline materials that are used to obtain piezoelectric effect.

Based on their method of operation the photoelectric transducers can be classified into three types.PHOTOELECTRIC TRANSDUCERS: The Photoelectric transducers use the light beam as the input source and convert the light beam into an analogous electric signal. Photoconductive Photovoltaic Photoemissive . 2. Since they sense the light beam these are also called as Photosensors or Photocells. 1. 3.

The construction and principle of operation of a photoconductive transducer is shown in Figure. This cell acts as a light beam falls on it. or germanium or some metallic sulphides. This increase is proportional to the intensity of the light beam and forms the output from the cell. A d.potential is applied across the electrodes. PHOTOCONDUCTIVE TRANSDUCERS: These use solid state semiconductor materials like selenium. a thin film of the semiconductor material is coated between electrodes on a glass plate.1. . thereby increasing the current in the circuit.c. In this.

FIG:PHOTO CONDUCTIVE TRANSDUCER .

a semiconductor material and a transparent metal layer (such as a thin layer of iron selenide). The potential developed is proportional to the intensity of the light beam and forms the output of the cell. PHOTOVOLTAIC TRANSDUCERS: Photogenerative or photovoltaic transducer consists of a sandwich of unlike materials like a metal base. When this cell is exposed to a light beam an electric potential is developed across the section [Fig-3]. .1. 2.

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. This current can be used as the output proportional to the intensity of the light beam.1.Photoemissive Transducers: This is an electronic tube transducer. When a light beam falls on the cathode. It consists of a cathodeanode combination housed in a glass or quartz tube. 3. In operation. a dc potential of 100-200 V is applied across the electrodes. The tube is either evacuated or filled with an inert gas. electrons flow towards the anode and complete the circuit thereby provide a small current in the external circuit (Figure-4).

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Photoelactric transducers are used mainly for the measurement of light intensity. radiation of various wavelengths. It is basically an electronic tube with certain moveable elements. counting. ELECTRONIC TRANSDUCERS: These transducers convert mechanical displacement into an electric current. etc. An electronic transducer is shown in Figure. .

ELECTRONIC TRANSDUCER .

a mechanical displacement applied at the external end of the arm causes the movement of the plates inside the tube. thereby providing an output. pressure. The plates which form a part of the electrode of the tube. an R-F generator and capacitor circuit. These transducers are used for the measurement of surface roughness. force. IONIZATION TRANSDUCERS: An Ionisation transducers consists of tow electrodes housed in a glass envelope. affect the characteristics of the tube. In operation. when move. filled with a gas or gases under reduced pressure.It consists of two plates mounted on a moveable arm which is extended through a flexible diaphragm at the end of the tube as shown in figure. acceleration. . etc.

if the tube is moved relative to the external electrodes. In this circuit the capacitors serve as the secondary transducers. and thus produce an output. acceleration. This can be used as a primary transducer. etc. . A variation in either of the capacitance C1 and C2 of the circuit tends to change the balance of the electric field. However. A space charge is created. furnishing a d. Such transducers are used as pickups for the measurement of pressure. displacement. potential results proportional to the displacement of the tube.c.A schematic arrangement of an ionisation transducer is shown in Figure. Here the radio-frequency (R-F) generator is used to ionize the gas in the tube by the filed from the two external electrodes. in the same circuit. humidity.c. then also a d. output signal (this depends on the configuration and the potential of the electrodes).

FIG: IONIZATION TRANSDUCERS .

A typical cell. the polarity of the electrical signal is also reversed. Diaphragms tightly sealed on each side of the ring retain the polar liquid. The basic construction and principle of operation of such a transducer is illustrated in Figure. with electric connections brought out via aluminium strings. shown in Figure. methanol. A wire mesh electrode is mounted on each side of the porous disk. The cell assembly is then clamped within a suitable housing . consists of a porcelain disk glazed into the centre of an impermeable porcelain ring. When the liquid flows through the pores. a voltage is generated in phase with and proportional tot he differential pressure across the faces of the disk. When the direction of the flow is reversed. or acetonitrite is forced through a porous disk.EELCTROKINETIC TRANSDUCERS The electrokinetic or the streaming potential phenomenon occurs when a polar liquid such as water. which fills the space between the diaphragms.

FIG: ELECTROKINETIC TRANSDUCER .

pressure and accelerations.The electrokinetic transducer is suitable only for measurement of small dynamic displacement. . The limitation of this type of transducers is that they are not suitable for static measurements.

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