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Instrumentation,

Control & Industrial


Practice
Topic 8
Control system
instrumentation
Sensors - Terminology
Dr H Bandulasena

Last time we saw:


Actuator system (control valve)

Various control valve constructions

Closure type based on safety consideration

Linear motion control valves


Rotary-motion control valves
Air-to-close (fail open)
Air-to-open (fail closed)

Installed valve characteristics is nonlinear (different from


uninstalled characteristics)
Sizing procedure for control valves

Objectives for today:

Understand the role of measurements


Familiarize with terminology used in
sensor technology
Understand the difference between
accuracy and precision

Outline of the Lecture

Introduction in transducer and


transmitters
Sensor terminology

Measurement devises - Importance

If we can measure it, we can


control it
We need to be able to see
the process variable in order to
control it we need sensors.
instruments are always
incorrect
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Transducer and transmitter


A transducer is a device that translates one form of energy to another.
Eg. Pressure transducer

general configuration of a measurement


transducer; it typically consists of a
sensing element combined with a
driving element (transmitter).
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Sensor, Transmitter and Transducer

Sensor: A device that receives and responds to a signal or


stimulus
Transmitter: Part of the transducer that produces an
amplified, standardized instrument signal. The most
common standardized forms are either 4-20 milliamps
(electric signal) or 3-15 psi (pneumatic signal).
Radio and hydraulic signals are also used, though they are
not as common because of inherent problems such as radio
signal interference and leakage of hydraulic systems.
However, radio signals commonly are used when sensors
and transmitters are great distances (on pipelines, for
example) from control centres.

Transmitters are generally designed to be direct acting.


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Sensors types

Active sensors Self generate an


electrical output signal (e.g.
thermocouples)
Passive sensors require an external
power source to provide an electrical
output signal (e.g. thermister)

Sensor Terminology
Range: The range of a sensor is the maximum and
minimum values of applied parameter that can be
measured.
Response time: The amount of time required for a
sensor to completely respond to a change in its input.
Accuracy: How close the sensor comes to indicating the
actual value of the measured variable?
Precision: How consistent the sensor is in measuring
the same value under the same operating conditions over
a period of time?
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Sensor Terminology
Sensitivity

The sensitivity is defined in terms of the relationship


between input physical signal (such as temperature,
pressure) and output electrical signal (voltage).
The sensitivity is generally the ratio between a small
change in electrical signal to a small change in
physical signal. As such, it may be expressed as the
derivative of the transfer function with respect to
physical signal. E.g. units: Volts/Kelvin.
An ideal sensor will have a large and constant
sensitivity
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Sensor Terminology
Dead band: The range through which an input can be
varied without initiating an observable response in a sensor
Costs: What are the costs involved - not simply the
purchase cost, but also the installed/operating costs?
Installation problems: Are there special installation
problems, e.g., corrosive fluids, explosive mixtures, size and
shape constraints, remote transmission questions, etc.?

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Range

Example:
temperature sensor

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Electronic transmitter adjusted range

Measurement:

range: 100 500 F

Span=500-100=400 F

Transmitter:

Range 4 20 mA;

Span = 20-4 = 16 mA

Example 50% of the measurement = 300 F transmitter


output 12 mA
Steady-State Gain (K) = Change in Output / Change in
Input that caused output change sensitivity
Our example: Gain = 0.04 (16 divided by 400 )

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Pneumatic transmitter adjusted range


Class Exercise

Measurement:

range:
span:

Transmitter:

Range:
Span:

What is the transmitted signal for the measurement Pmeasured =140 PSIG?
Calculate the steady state gain

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Calibration
A sensor or an instrument is calibrated by applying a number of
known physical inputs (standards) and recording the response of the
system

Signal output

* The transfer function Mathematical function which represents the


relation between a physical measurement (stimulus) and the system
response (electrical output signal). E.g. V=a+bT

Physical input 15

Transfer function
* linear transfer function
y = c+ m.x
c - output signal when the stimulus is zero
m - slope or line gradient
x - stimulus intensity.
Note that, c and m are constants, and y (output) varies according to x (input).

* Nonlinear Transfer Function


Sensors with internal characteristics variation not proportional to the physical
parameter variation ( nonlinear behaviour - sensitivity is not constant)
exponential
logarithmic

y ax

a>=0

and a 1

y a b ln x
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Accuracy versus Precision)


(shooting at a target)
Not accurate or Precise

Accurate and NOT Precise

Precise but NOT accurate

Accurate AND Precise

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Accuracy and Precision


Accuracy: is the closeness of a measurement (or a
set of observations) to the true value
Higher the accuracy, lower the error

Precision: is the closeness of multiple observations


or repeatability of a measurement
Refers to how close a set of measurement are to
each other

Absolute Error = e = | true indicated value |


Relative Error = absolute error / true value
% Accuracy = [1 (e / true value)] x 100
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How Accurate is the Measurement ?

There is always some uncertainty in measurements

Uncertainty: A likely bound on the error


The application dictates the required accuracy:

Significant consequences
Core temperature of a nuclear reactor vs.
outdoor temperature

Functionality
Measurement of lens curvature on eyeglasses
vs. curvature of a wide-angle mirror
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Class Exercise Fired heater

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Class Exercise Fired heater

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Precision
Precision Error: is a measure of the random variation
found during repeated measurements

A system that repeatedly indicates the same wrong


value upon application of a particular input,
would be considered very precise, regardless of
its accuracy

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Precision
a) Estimated standard deviation (s)
xi = individual determination
x = mean value of determinations
N = number of determinations

x x

N 1

b) Relative standard deviation (RSD)

s
RSD
x

s
100
x

c) Coefficient of variation (CV)

s
CV 100
x
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Precision & Bias Error


Average measured value

Process Parameter

Precision Scatter
Test Bias Error
True or known value

Measured data
Time

Bias Error: is the difference between the average value and the
true value

To determine the bias error, one normally requires the average error
to be determined by means of repeated measurements
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Instrument Repeatability
A sensor repeatedly calibrated under identical conditions, will
show some variations. Repeatability is the measure of this
variation and is normally described by the standard deviation
(s) of the data.

%eR max

eR max
ro

100

(output range = ro)


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Nonideal instrument behaviour

Hysteresis

Deadband
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Hysteresis Error
The hysteresis error can be quantified by:

%ehmax

ehmax
ro

100

(output range = ro)

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Linearity
Many types of sensors have linear
input/output behavior, at least within a
narrow range of inputs. The sensor thus
follows an input/output relation like
yL(x) = a0 + a1x.
These will often be marketed as linear,
and the only calibration data you get is
the slope of the input/output relation (a1)
and the zero input value (a0). For these
types of sensors, the deviation from linear
behavior should be reported in the
specifications. This deviation can be
calculated: eL(x) = y(x) - yL(x).
The spec is usually the percentage error
relative to full scale, or

%eLmax

eLmax
ro

100

(output range = ro)

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Class exercise

The output voltage V of a temperature sensor shows a


nonlinear characteristic curve. The transfer function is
given by the following equation:

V aT bT c
2

Is the sensitivity of the sensor the same in the whole


operating regime?
What is the maximum sensitivity of the sensor
In which operating regime one should avoid using the
sensor?
Assuming that the characteristic curve above is a perfect
fit what would be the maximum linearity error if a linear
calibration curve would be used?
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Zero and Sensitivity Errors

yL(x) = a0 + a1x

Variations in the linearity parameters a0 and a1 are


called zero errors and sensitivity errors, respectively.
Zero errors are handled rather easily by measuring the
zero input response before measurements are started.
These two errors are often sensitive to temperature
fluctuations in electronic equipment.

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