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Eddy Current Displacement Sensor

with LTCC Technology

Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades

der Fakultt fr Angewandte Wissenschaften

der Albert-Ludwigs Universitt Freiburg im Breisgau

vorgelegt von
Yuqing Lai

2005
Dekan: Prof. Dr. J.G. Korvink

Referenten: Prof. Dr. J. Wilde, Prof. Dr. C. Ament

Datum der Promotion: 22. 03. 2005


To yongfeng
CONTENTS

1 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1

2 State of the art...................................................................................................... 5


2.1 Importance of and developments in blades vibration monitoring ............... 5
2.2 Conventional displacement sensors.............................................................. 6
2.3 High temperature properties of sensors........................................................ 9
2.4 Introduction of the planar coil technology ................................................. 10
3 Aim of research and some basic principles and concepts............................. 12
3.1 Aim of the work .......................................................................................... 12
3.2 The concept and principle of an eddy current sensor................................. 12
3.2.1 The theory of eddy currents.................................................................... 13
3.2.2 Testing principle for turbine blades........................................................ 16
3.3 Introduction to LTCC technology .............................................................. 17
3.3.1 Concept of LTCC technology................................................................. 17
3.3.2 Materials and process of LTCC.............................................................. 17
4 Design of the eddy current sensor ................................................................... 19
4.1 General principle and design factors .......................................................... 19
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil ................................ 20
4.2.1 Analytic model of the LTCC coil for analytic analysis ......................... 20
4.2.2 Inductance calculations........................................................................... 21
4.2.2.1 Self-inductance ............................................................................... 22
4.2.2.2 The mutual inductance ................................................................... 23
4.2.3 The DC resistance of the coil.................................................................. 28
4.2.4 Capacitance calculation .......................................................................... 28
4.2.5 Quality factor, skin depth, self-resonant frequency ............................... 32
4.2.5.1 Quality factor (Q) ........................................................................... 32
4.2.5.2 Skin depth ....................................................................................... 33
4.2.5.3 Self-resonant frequency (SRF)....................................................... 34
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor.................................. 35
4.3.1 FEM simulation....................................................................................... 35
4.3.2 Optimizing the sensor location - modal vibration simulation ............... 36
4.3.3 Optimizing the sensor sensitivity-EM evaluation.................................. 39
4.3.3.1 2D simulation.................................................................................. 39
4.3.3.2 3D simulation.................................................................................. 46
4.3.4 Thermo-mechanical FE analysis ............................................................ 50
4.4 LTCC layout design for eddy current sensor ............................................. 54
4.4.1 Material selection of LTCC coil............................................................. 54
4.4.2 Structural design optimization with fabrication guideline..................... 55
4.4.3 Layout design .......................................................................................... 56

i
5 Experimental system and methods ..................................................................58
5.1 LTCC fabrication of the eddy current sensor coil.......................................58
5.2 Sensor characterization ................................................................................59
5.2.1 Static impedance of sensors (L, C, R) .....................................................59
5.2.2 Static position measurement system .......................................................59
5.2.2.1 Proximity testing..............................................................................60
5.2.2.2 System for impedance testing by frequency sweep........................60
5.3 Measurement of the temperature properties................................................61
5.3.1 Experimental system................................................................................61
5.3.2 Method for calculation of temperature coefficient of resistance for
sensor coil ................................................................................................63
5.4 System for real-time measurements ............................................................63
5.4.1 Rotation control and generator ................................................................64
5.4.2 Electronic signal acquisition system .......................................................65
5.4.3 Test objects...............................................................................................67
6 Results and discussion........................................................................................68
6.1 Characterization of the sensor .....................................................................68
6.1.1 Static unloaded impedance of sensors (L, C, R) .....................................68
6.1.2 Static position measurement....................................................................69
6.1.2.1 Proximity testing..............................................................................69
6.1.2.2 Horizontal passage testing...............................................................70
6.1.3 Frequency sweep of sensor......................................................................71
6.1.4 Material properties of target ....................................................................73
6.1.5 Response to target lateral displacement at different frequencies ...........75
6.1.6 Influence of surface area of target ...........................................................78
6.2 Temperature influence on the sensor impedance ........................................80
6.2.1 Thermal coefficient of resistance of the sensor coil ...............................80
6.2.2 Temperature influence on the impedance of the sensor .........................81
6.2.2.1 Influence of temperature on the resistance of the sensor ...............81
6.2.2.2 Influence of temperature on the inductance of the sensor..............84
6.3 Real-time measurements..............................................................................87
6.3.1 Response of the sensor to rotation of the rotor .......................................87
6.3.2 Influence of the clearance between sensor surface and tip of blades .....88
6.3.3 Measurement for the changes of blades geometry..................................91
6.3.4 Influence of testing circuits .....................................................................95
7 Conclusions and prospects ................................................................................99
7.1 Summary and conclusions ...........................................................................99
7.2 Outlook.......................................................................................................100
Zusammenfassung ....................................................................................................103

Bibliography ..............................................................................................................105

Abbreviations and symbols .....................................................................................109

ii
1 Introduction
Eddy current non-contact measuring systems have been widely used for more than
30 years for measurement of position, displacement, vibration, proximity, alignment,
and dimensioning, as well as parts sorting applications [1-5]. In this work, the novel
low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) technology was applied to a planar
displacement eddy current sensor in order to improve the performance of the sensor
for displacement measurements in high temperature environments. The improved
sensor can be used as a blade tip sensing probe within a health monitoring system
for rotary instruments, such as aero-engines, gas turbine engines, steam turbines or
turbocharges.

To date, prediction of displacements in aerodynamic systems has been difficult due


to the lack of computational fluid dynamics fidelity, structural modeling accuracy,
instrumentation effects and insufficient characterization of instrumentation
installation effects. Therefore, to improve the lifetime and performance of
conventional displacement sensors, such as eddy current sensor or strain gages, and
transforming them for engine health monitoring applications has become very
important [6]. Especially for a turbo-machinery system, the working environment is
very harsh and the movements of blades are complicated (see Figure 1.1). Incipient
failure of rotor blades and disks can be anticipated by detecting a damage signature
early on, and detecting incipient failures in advance can avoid or prevent further
damages [7].

Figure 1.1 Illustration of turbine blades and an example of their vibrations analyzed by finite elements
method.

Recently, a measurement technique known as non-destructive blade tip-timing


method was developed [8-12] for health monitoring of turbine blades. This method
uses multiple sensing probes installed in the engine casing to sense points in time

1
1 Introduction

when the blades are passing the probes. The changing vibration characteristics are
analyzed according to acquisition timing data. Further more, the related blade's
fatigue life and the health condition of the turbine are evaluated. In such an on-line
blade monitoring system, non-contact displacement sensors play an important role.

Several physical principles are possible for non-contact measurements. Among these,
eddy current, optical reflection and capacitive sensors have good properties. But in
harsh environments, eddy current sensors are superior to other types of sensors and
have become the best choice because they are inherently immune to nonmetallic
materials, e.g. plastic, opaque fluid or transparent fluid and dirt [13].

The sensor coil is the main component of an eddy current sensor. In this work the
manufacturing technique of the sensor coil was changed in order to meet the
requirement that such a sensor works at high temperature. The novel LTCC
technology was applied to fabricate these eddy current sensors.

Low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) are multilayer glass-ceramic composites


that can bear high temperatures up to the melting point of the conductor metal. Its
typical advantages are as follows [14,15]:

Temperature stability

Green tape for single layers available in a variety of uniform thicknesses

Co-fireable and post-fireable Au and Pd/Ag conductors with oxidation


resistance

Tape has low dielectric constant and dielectric loss

Material has low TCE

Compatible with low-temperature brazing conductors

Small x-y fired shrinkage

Because of these advantages, an LTCC application for sensors and actuators was
developed recently rendering a technology suitable for micro-system technology
(MST) [16,17]. The objective of this work is to apply LTCC technology to a planar
eddy current sensor in order to improve the feasibility and reliability of displacement
measurements in harsh and high temperature environments.

2
1 Introduction

For sensors with a new packaging, their sensitivities and feasibilities must be
controlled and evaluated. In this work, the design of the sensor was first optimized .
A set of calculating methods were built using analytic analysis for electric parameters
of a planar film coil, such as unloaded impedance, skin depth and self-resonant
frequency. Various properties of eddy current sensors were evaluated by finite
elements method (FEM) analysis such as the optimal mounting position, optimum
structure and materials. The FEM analysis involves three aspects: modal,
electromagnetic and thermal mechanical analysis. According to the results of analytic
and FEM analyses and combining them with the LTCC fabrication guidelines, a
comprehensive optimization flow chart was developed, and a corresponding
optimization layout was designed and implemented. With the realized LTCC sensor
examples, experimental characterization was carried out. In addition, the influence of
temperature on the properties of the eddy current sensor was evaluated. It was found
that the change of the resistance of the sensor with the change of the target
displacement follows the same trend at different temperatures up to 600 oC. Also the
values of inductance below 1 MHz bear little temperature dependence. Therefore, it
was justified that LTCC eddy current sensors are feasible at high temperatures.
Finally, a rotating system consisting of a motor, a rotor with blades, a testing circuit,
and a data acquisition system was built. This equipment was used to simulate the
rotation displacement of blades. The testing signals represent the rotating speed of
the motor up to 3000 rpm, clearance between sensor and blade tip, and changes of
the blade geometry correctly. Thus, the capability of the LTCC eddy current sensor
to measure displacements of rotary blades was proved. All stages of the development
of our work are illustrated in Figure 1.2.

In this thesis, chapter 2 describes the literature and addresses the state of the art for
the blade tip timing technique. Several conventional displacement sensor and
packaging technologies are introduced. Chapter 3 elaborates on the aim of this
project. The basic principles of eddy current sensors and LTCC technology are also
presented. Chapter 4 is concerned with the design optimization of the LTCC eddy
current sensor. The analytic and numerical calculations and empirical work have
been done to design a novel LTCC eddy current sensor for the measurement of rotor
blade tips. The layout for an optimal sensor structure is obtained for LTCC
fabrication. In Chapter 5, the set-up of the experimental system and the related
calculation method for data processing are introduced. It comprises the instruments
for the characterization of the sensor and the measurement of temperature dependent
properties, and the system integration including motor, rotor with eight blades, sensor
and its supporting frame, as well as the electronic measurement and data acquisition
system etc. Chapter 6 displays the experimental results and corresponding discussion.
Finally, Chapter 7 summarizes the work and gives the conclusions and the prospect
for possible improvements as well as further applications.
3
1 Introduction

Simulation and design


FEM simulation (Ansys):
Modal, electromagnetic, thermo-mechanical
Analytic calculation:
Resistance, inductance, capacitance, skin depth, self-
resonant frequency

Design layout and LTCC fabrication


Selection of LTCC materials and structure
Layout design by software CAM350
LTCC fabrication

Experiment and measurement


Static behavior:
Sensor characterization for impedance
Temperature influence on sensor behavior
Dynamic behavior:
Test system (rotating system, circuit and data acquisition
system)
Measurement for rotary speed, clearance, changes of the
blade geometry
Signal processing and analysis

Figure 1.2 Flow chart of project work.

4
2 State of the art
This chapter provides a starting point for this research by a literature survey. The
relevant state of the art for application and development is essential for defining the
aim of our work.

2.1 Importance of and developments in blades vibration


monitoring
A common failure mode for turbomachinery is high-cycle fatigue of the turbine
blades due to high dynamic stresses caused by blade vibration in resonance within
the operating range of the machinery [18]. A large number of engine shut-downs
can also be explained by blade failures caused by resonance vibration or flutter.
Therefore, it is very important for the health diagnosis of turbomachinery to monitor
the blades vibrations and to obtain dynamic stress information.

The conventional practice in vibration measurement for turbomachinery has been


using strain gauges mounted on the blade surface. The testing signal is received on
the stationary side using a wireless telemeter system. With this method the responses
to all excited vibration modes of the instrumented blades can be captured
continuously. However, a conventional telemetry system requires costly installation
on the rotor side where it must withstand centrifugal forces and high temperatures,
and it can provide only 5~6 testing data simultaneously because of the limitation of
the usable radio wave band [7,19,20].

Recently, a non-contact measurement technique for vibrations of turbomachinery


rotor blade tips using blade tip timing was developed and has become an industry-
standard procedure. In these systems, the time points when the rotor blade tips are
passing a given point are recorded and extracted to obtain vibration information by
blade deflection signal processing. Many organizations and companies, such as
NASA Glenn Research Center, Mitsubishi, Hood Technology, and SKF, carried out
related researches in this field [6,20-26]. In this system, the tip sensor is the key
component. The sensors are integrated with a non-contact stress measurement system
to measure blade resonance (high-cycle fatigue), detect cracks in blades and disks
(high- and low-cycle fatigue), detect damage from foreign objects, investigate
rotating stall, and analyze blade flutter along with other rotational anomalies. The
equipment also has the potential to perform real-time monitoring of an engine during
flight. Figure 2.1.1 illustrates a complete tip timing system with optical sensors.

5
2 State of the art

Besides optical sensors, alternative sensor technologies for blade vibration


measurement presently are capacitive sensors, and eddy current sensors [6],[7].

Figure 2.1.1 Overview of a non-contact stress measurement system [6].

2.2 Conventional displacement sensors


Displacement sensors are generally grouped in four categories: magnetic sensors,
capacitive sensors, optical sensors, and strain gages. Choosing the right sensor is
vitally import, because the environment in which the sensor is situated can affect the
sensor and its operation dramatically. The concepts of these are described and a
comparison is made in this section.

(a)Eddy current (b) Inductive (c) Hall effect (d) Capacitive (e) Optical

Figure 2.2.1 Principles of displacement sensors [27].

Magnetic sensor: This includes magnetic field sensors, magnetic switches and
instruments measuring magnetic fields and/or magnetic fluxes by evaluating a

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2.2 Conventional displacement sensors

potential (Hall effect), current (wire coil / flux gate), or resistance change because of
the field strength and direction [28].

Eddy current sensor

If a nonmagnetic conductive target material is introduced into the coil field, eddy
currents are induced in the target's surface. These currents generate a secondary
magnetic field, inducing a secondary voltage in the sensor coil. The result is a
decrease in the coil's inductive reactance. The coil-target interaction is similar to the
field interaction between the windings of a transformer. Eddy current sensors work
most efficiently at high oscillation frequencies. This type of system is also known as
variable impedance because of the significance of the impedance variations in
defining its complex nature. Ferromagnetic target materials can also effectively
decrease the coil's inductive reactance if there is sufficient eddy current flow to
counteract the increased field strength resulting from a higher permeability of the
target (>1). For high-precision measurements, however, preferable applications
should make use of nonmagnetic conductive target materials for reasons discussed
later [1]. Eddy current sensors can be used whether access to the blade is available or
not (i.e., they can see through the case, and are unaffected by the presence of oil
and other contaminants [19]).

Magnetic inductive sensor

The sensor comprises a coil, a coil core and a permanent magnet. The coil core and
the magnet are magnetically coupled. This generates a permanent magnetic flow
inside the coil. A ferromagnetic substance that influences the field of the magnet can
cause changes in the magnetic flow. This change in flow induces a voltage inside the
coil. The magnitude of the induced voltage depends on the magnitude and the speed
of the change in flow [29].

Hall effect sensor

In a differential Hall sensor, two Hall generators are arranged close to each other.
The individual Hall generators operate along the same principle as the magnetic field
dependent semi-conductor in single Hall sensors. Both Hall elements of the sensor
are biased with a permanent magnet [29].

Strain gage: An ideal strain gage would change resistance only due to the
deformations of the surface to which the sensor is attached. It belongs to the contact
sensors and must be mounted directly on the surface of the tested object.

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2 State of the art

Capacitive sensor: Capacitive proximity sensors are contactless position sensors,


which react to the presence of objects of nearly any material within the supervised
range. Capacitance works well when clear access to the blade tip is available and the
dielectric properties of the medium in the gap between the sensor and the blade are
constant. These sensors tend to be unreliable at medium-to-high temperatures, and
cannot be used when oil contamination is present. Special materials are needed for
operations at cryogenic temperatures [19][30].

Optical sensor: Taking the principle of the optical triangulation for contactless
position measurement as an example, a laser beam emitted from the sensor produces
a light spot on the surface of the measured object that is projected by high-quality
optics on a position-sensitive detector. Optical devices require clear access to the
blade tip, and the medium in the gap must be transparent. Optical sensors can be used
at very high temperatures but not in the presence of contaminants.

Contact
sensor:
Strain gage
Noncontact sensor:
Eddy current sensor
capacitive sensor
optical sensor

Figure 2.2.2 Mounting illustration of several displacement sensors on a turbine wheel [6].

The mounting method for strain gauge and non-contact sensors is shown in Figure
2.2.2. Non-contact position measurement devices offer several advantages over
contact-type sensors. They provide higher dynamic response with higher
measurement resolution, have lower or no hysteresis, and can measure small, fragile
parts. There is no risk of damaging delicate structures by the probe, and they can
operate in highly dynamic processes and environments [31]. A detailed comparison
of the four kinds of sensors concerning their advantages and disadvantages is
provided in Table 2.1.

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2.3 High temperature properties of sensors

Table 2.1 The comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of several displacement sensors

Sensor type Advantage/disadvantage

Eddy current Advantage: Simple structure, low cost, light weight,


durable, immune to gas stream properties (dirt, water
vapor, moisture etc.)
Disadvantage: Measuring signal will change with
material properties of the blade.

Capacitive Advantage: Simple structure, low cost


Disadvantage: Durability and changing dielectric
properties of the gas stream can cause problems; needs
high voltage power supply.
Optical Advantage: High precision, direct measurement of the
position
Disadvantage: Cooling requirements and associated
added weight; installation complexity and susceptibility
to optical contamination; rather for ground based
laboratory testing than harsh environments.
Strain gage Advantage: Direct measurement of stress in-situ
Disadvantage: Attached to rotor and root of blades,
therefore must withstand centrifugal force and high
temperature.

2.3 High temperature properties of sensors


Sometimes, displacement sensors must work at high temperatures, especially for
turbomachinery, whose environment normally involves high temperatures because
the turbine is rotating at high speed. Therefore it is very important to improve the
high temperature properties of the sensor [32,33]. According to the literature, there
are two methods to improve the operating temperature of sensors.

The first method is to change the material and packaging of the sensor [34]. For
example, inductive sensors cannot be used at high temperatures because their
magnetic components are limited to the Curie temperature. Eddy current sensors can
be suitable for high temperature applications but must consist of ceramic material for
insulation. There are two types of eddy current sensor coil. One is a sensor coil with
a ferrite core, and the other type has a ceramic core. The latter has better high
9
2 State of the art

temperature properties than the former. For the sensor with a magnet core, the
working temperature is below 300 oC because the normal curie temperature of ferrite
magnets is below 450 oC and the maximum operating temperature is below 300 oC
[35]. Whereas when the sensor has a ceramic core, its working temperature can be up
to about 1000 oC. Therefore the ceramic core is applied for eddy current sensor in
high temperature environment of turbine system. Use of heat-resistant materials such
as ceramics for sensor packaging is an effective method to improve its thermal
properties [8,10,31].

Another method is to change the mounting position of the sensor and make it
insulated from the thermal sources. Usually a non-contact sensor is mounted in the
engine casing by drilling a hole through the case. But recent literature [21,36]
describes the development of a novel sensor that can make the same detailed
measurements while mounted on the outside of the engine case. There are no holes,
and no interruption in the gas path. They can also diagnose problems and help predict
the service life of the rotor. Because the engine case without hole insulates the
thermal sources, the sensor avoids the high temperature problem.

2.4 Introduction of the planar coil technology


In this section, several planar coil technologies are introduced briefly and compared
to the novel LTCC technology. These are high temperature cofired ceramic (HTCC),
thick film and printed circuit board (PCB) technologies. Details are listed in Table
2.2.

10
2.4 Introduction of the planar coil technology

Table 2.2 Comparison of four processing technologies for planar coils

Technology Introduction/ advantages or disadvantages

HTCC High temperature cofired ceramic technology uses alumina green


tape layers that require firing at high temperatures above 1500 C
to become a uniform and reliable dielectric insulator.

Disadvantages: Low conductive material (W, Mo), complex


process, no printed resistor and high capital cost.

Thick film A precision thick film ink pattern is screened onto a ceramic
substrate and cured at elevated temperatures. Then a laser is used
to trim the resistance values to a high degree of precision, up to
0.1%.

Disadvantages: multiple printing steps and multiple firings for


multilayers, thickness control of dielectric and limited layer count

LTCC LTCC combines the benefits of HTCC and thick film


technologies. It is made from multilayer glass-ceramic dielectric
tape by conductor screen-printing on the green ceramic tape with
sintering temperature below 900C that is common to thick film
materials.

Advantages: low processing temperature, low resistive metal


(Au,Ag), printed resistor, TCE match Si, unlimited number of
layers, good thermal properties etc.

PCB Printed circuit board. The normal laminate is constructed from


glass fabric impregnated with epoxy resin (known as "pre-preg")
and copper foil. The copper foil is partly etched away, and the
remaining copper forms a network of electrical connections
between the components mounted on it.

Disadvantages: low operating temperature, larger size of circuit


and low thermal conductivity.

11
3 Aim of research and some basic
principles and concepts

3.1 Aim of the work


The aim of this research is to develop a novel eddy current sensor with sufficient
sensitivity to match the requirements of displacement measurement under given
working environments and testing objects. In our work, the working environment is
harsh and is full of non-metallic impurities such as oil drops, steam, dirt, etc. In
addition, high temperatures above the Curier temperature of ferrite magnets are
another limit to a sensor. The testing objects are rotating turbine blades of high-
conductivity and non-magnetic metals such as Ti alloys, or stainless steel. Because of
these requirements, it was our research aim to develop an eddy current sensor with
LTCC technology [37-39].

Among several possible sensors for blade tip timing systems, only magnetic sensors
are suitable for harsh environments because they are inherently immune to
nonmetallic materials. But for magnetic inductive sensors and Hall sensors, their
testing objects must include ferrite magnet or permanent magnet. In addition,
because inductive sensors and Hall sensors must contain permanent magnetic
materials according to their working principle, it is impossible that they work at high
temperatures. Therefore, eddy current becomes the only option for our research.
Then, the novel packaging technology of LTCC is applied to the sensor fabrication
because it provides better heat-resistant properties and other advantages such as a
better TCE match between the conductor and the substrate, etc. The design of the
LTCC sensor has been optimised to obtain a better sensitivity for the measurement of
the blade's rotating displacement. The purpose of the experimental testing is to justify
the feasibility of the sensor for working at high temperatures, and to evaluate the
capability of the sensor for the measurement of the rotating displacement at
laboratory level. Of course, the final aim of our work is to apply this LTCC sensor as
a tip probe for practical rig testing in turbomachinery or other fields.

3.2 The concept and principle of an eddy current sensor


The eddy current sensor belongs to the group of inductive sensors [40]. In the past it
has been used mainly in the proximity probes application. Recently it was developed
also as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for turbomachinery in terms of a blade tip

12
3.2 The concept and principle of an eddy current sensor

sensing system [8]. This chapter addresses the concept of the eddy current induction
and the operating principle of a blade tip sensing system.

3.2.1 The theory of eddy currents


In 1831, Faraday and Henry discovered that a moving magnetic field induces a
voltage in an electrical conductor proportional to the rate of change of the exciting
current for magnetic field. In 1879, Hughes recorded changes in the properties of a
coil when placed in contact with metals of different conductivity and permeability.
However, it was not until the Second World War that these effects were put to
practical use for testing materials. Much work was done in the 1950's and 60's,
particularly in the aircraft and nuclear industries. Eddy current testing is now a
widely used and well-understood technique for crack inspection or position sensing
[41-43].

Eddy current sensors applied for position or displacement measurement have their
d B
origins based on Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction: = , where is
dt
induced emf (electromotive force), and dB/dt is the rate of change of the magnetic
flux. The physical model of measurements (see Figure 3.2.1) consists of the target
object and the main component of the sensor that is an induction coil. When an
alternating voltage or current is applied to the stranded coil, it generates an
oscillating magnetic field, which induces eddy currents on the surface of the
conductive target, according to the principle of eddy current induction [8]. Eddy
currents circulate in a direction opposite to that of the coil, reducing the magnetic
fluxes in the coil and thereby its inductance. Eddy currents also dissipate energy, and
therefore lead to an increase in the resistance of the coil [44].

(a) (b)

Figure 3.2.1 Physical principle of an eddy current sensor: (a) target with large surface [45] (b) target with
narrow surface.

Consider a coil of wire wound in a helical shape with an air core. Low resistive
nonferrous material is typically used in inductive sensor coils to avoid magnetic

13
3 Aim of research and some basic principles and concepts

hysteresis effects and nonlinearity errors caused by ferrous materials. This kind of
wire coil is considered as an inductor. The coil and the target constitute the primary
coil and the shorted secondary coil of a weakly coupled air-core transformer [44].
Figure 3.2.2 (a) shows this kind of electronic circuit model converted from the
physical model.
I
1

M I2

R1 R2
U
~

L1 L2

(a) (b)

Figure 3.2.2 Equivalent circuit model of an eddy current sensor with air core as a transformer (a)with a
coupling coefficient that depends on standoff . (b) The simplified model of an inductor and resistor that
both depend on standoff x.

According to Kirchhoff s Law, the circuit model of a transformer (Figure 3.2.2 (a))
can be expressed in Equation (3.1).


loop1 : R1 I 1 + jL1 I 1 jM I 2 = U
(3.1)
loop2 : j M I + R I + j L I = 0
1 2 2 2 2

It is evident that:

U
I1 = (3.2)
M R2
2 2
2 M 2 L2
R1 + + j ( L1 )
R 2 + 2 L2 R 2 + 2 L2
2 2 2 2

Therefore, the circuit model of a transformer can be converted to the model of an


inductor and a resistor shown in Figure 3.2.2 (b). The equivalent impedance Z,
resistance R, inductance L and quality factor Q of the sensor model become:

14
3.2 The concept and principle of an eddy current sensor

2 M 2 R2 2 M 2 L2
Z = R + j L = R1 + + j ( L1 ) (3.3)
R 2 + 2 L2 R 2 + 2 L2
2 2 2 2

2 M 2 R2
R = R1 +
R 2 + 2 L2
2 2
(3.4)

2 M 2 L2
L = L1
R 2 + 2 L2
2 2
(3.5)

2 M 2 L2
( L1 )
L R 2 + 2 L2
2 2

Q= = (3.6)
R 2 M 2 R2
R1 +
R 2 + 2 L2
2 2

where R1 and L1 are the resistance and self-inductance of the sensor coil depending
on the material and structure of the coil; R2 and L2 are the equivalent resistance and
self-inductance of the target depending on the eddy current path, resistivity and
permeability of the target; is the exciting angular frequency of the power source,
proportional to frequency f; and M is the mutual inductance between the sensor coil
and the target depending on the relative position x between sensor and target.

With the change of relative position x between the sensor coil and target, Z, L, R and
Q change with mutual inductance M. Following the equation above, Z, L, R and Q
can be derived using x, , and the exciting frequency . Whereby

Z, L, R or Q = (x, , , ) (3.7)

When sensor coil, target and exciting frequency are given, a one-variable function is
obtained for displacement measurement. That is:

Z, L, R or Q = (x) (3.8)

When the surface of the target is infinitely large as in Figure 3.2.1(a), x is the
standoff between sensor and target in vertical direction. Whereas, when the surface
of the target is narrow as shown in Figure 3.2.1(b) and the standoff between sensor
and coil is given, x is the horizontal displacement of the target referring to the

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3 Aim of research and some basic principles and concepts

position of the coil. Therefore, the testing principles of the eddy current sensor for
proximity and horizontal displacement of the target can be formulated in the
following.

3.2.2 Testing principle for turbine blades


According to the measuring principle, the eddy current sensors are suitable to be
applied to monitoring movements of turbine blades. In a rotating system, the sensor
is mounted directly above the tip of the blades with its surface normal to the direction
passing through the rotating centre as illustrated in Figure 3.2.3 (a). When a
conductive blade comes below the eddy current sensor, the impedance or other
related parameters of the sensor coil change. Through a suitable circuit, a positive or
negative voltage peak corresponding to the arrival of a blade can be measured. All
blade movements can be inferred by the measurements of their elapsed time.
Comparing the arrival time and the amplitude of these voltage peaks, the movement
of blades can be derived.

V V

t t

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 3.2.3 Testing principle for movement of turbine blades: (a) illustration of mounting for sensor (b)
arrival time of every blade (c) clearance between sensor and tip of blade.

For example, Figure 3.2.3 (b) shows the arrival time difference t between two
voltage peaks. This kind of signal indicates the interval time between two blades and
offers information on rotating speed, and on anomalous horizontal displacements
including vibration signals. Figure 3.2.3 (c) illustrates different amplitudes of blades.
This kind of signal can reflect the change of clearance between sensor coil and the tip
of blade and can offer the information on the creep through long-term trend of
turbine blade length, FOD (Foreign Object Damage) of the blade, and shifts in
resonance etc. By analysing both types of the output signal from the eddy current
sensor, one can diagnose the incipient failure. So, it becomes possible to take some
improvements in time to avoid larger loss and enhance the reliability of the whole
system.

16
3.3 Introduction to LTCC technology

3.3 Introduction to LTCC technology


3.3.1 Concept of LTCC technology
The Low Temperature Cofired Ceramic (LTCC) technology can be defined as a way
to produce multilayer circuits with the help of single tapes, which are to be used to
apply conductive, dielectric and resistive pastes on. These single sheets have to be
laminated together and fired in one step. Because of the low firing temperature of
about 850C it is possible to use the low resistive materials silver or gold with
melting points of 960 oC and 1100 oC instead of molybdenum and tungsten used in
conjunction with the HTCC [46]. The LTCC technology is especially well suited for
RF applications, and for products where a high integration level and/or a high
reliability are needed.

LTCC technology is a very novel technology beginning from the 80s. The first
publication on LTCC can be found by INSPEC in 1984 [47]. Because low
temperature cofired ceramic tape technology displays excellent properties for
packaging, interconnection and passive component integration, it has been widely
used in the last twenty years for high reliability applications in military, avionics and
automotive areas, as well as in MCM's (Multi Chip Modules) for
telecommunications and computer applications. Recently, its application has been
expanded to the sensor and actuator area, rendering a technology suitable for micro-
system technology (MST) at the meso-scale level from fifty microns to several
millimetres because its material system is compatible with hybrid microelectronics,
suitable for thermal, mechanical and electrical properties, and easy to fabricate and
inexpensive to process [14,16]. LTCC technology can match all the requirements of
micro-systems such as: small size, low costs, short response time, corrosion resistant
materials, low power consumption, and high temperature operation.

During fabrication every single layer can be inspected and in the case of inaccuracy
or damage it can be replaced before firing. This prevents the need of manufacturing a
whole new circuit. The advantages of the LTCC are: cost efficiency for high volumes,
high packaging density, reliability, integrated and embedded passives component
(capacitors, inductors and resistors) in the LTCC, good dielectric thickness control,
high print resolution of conductors and low K dielectric material.

3.3.2 Materials and process of LTCC


LTCC are glass-ceramic composites in the form of tapes. They are also called green
ceramic tapes because they are manipulated in the green stage before firing and
sintering. Tapes are easily machined while still in the green stage before firing. They
are soft, pliable, and easily abraded, so it is possible to use mechanical CNC,
punching machines or laser methods. Once the material is fired and fully sintered, it

17
3 Aim of research and some basic principles and concepts

becomes hard and highly rigid. The composite material includes a ceramic filler,
usually alumina, Al2O3, a glass frit binder to lower processing temperature and an
organic vehicle for binding and viscosity control. This renders a material compatible
with thick film technology. Tapes are commercially produced in flat sheets of
various thicknesses in the range of 100 to 400 m.

LTCC technology is based on the extension and improvement of standard ceramic


processing, multilayer technology and unique design rules. One approach taken by
such companies as DuPont, Ferro, and Heraeus is to supply green tape as the raw
material used to make LTCC modules and the necessary design rules to those who
design and manufacture their own modules. Others, like Murata, have chosen to
develop materials, design rules, and manufacturing processes in-house, and then
produce functional solutions such as LC filters, RF front ends, and complete radio
modules.

The LTCC processing is very similar to that of HTCC without the complex firing
conditions, flattening fires and plating steps. The process flow is shown in Figure
3.3.1. In the process flow, LTCC's parallel processing capability facilitates rapid
turnaround times with reduced costs for packages and large layer counts.

Figure 3.3.1 Fabrication process flow of LTCC [48].

18
4 Design of the eddy current sensor
The purpose of optimization the design of a displacement sensor is to select the
optimal structure, suitable materials and operating conditions so that the sensor has
enough sensitivity and precision with a size as small as possible to match the
practical application. Analytical methods can calculate the parameters of the coil for
a given structure for the unloaded case (without measuring target). But, which
structure with the proper L, R, and C parameters can obtain better sensitivity depends
on the interaction of the coil and the target. This kind of interaction is complicated.
Therefore, the finite elements method (FEM) will be used for simulation and design
optimization because of its powerful calculation ability.

4.1 General principle and design factors


During the process of sensor design, different factors that influence the properties of
the sensor such as the structure, mounting position and material of the sensor
measurement system are analyzed and compared. The optimization objective is that
the optimal parameters of the whole sensor system should achieve the best sensitivity
under a given environment with stability and feasibility. These factors, which affect
the properties of the sensor significantly, and some guidelines of design are sorted in
three types as follows [49,50].

The factors of the first type are determined by the coil itself and are as follows:
Mounting position of the sensor relative to the target
Geometric parameters of the coil such as thickness, turns, etc.
Inductance and resistance of the sensor coil. The requirement for a standard
design is that the unloaded quality factor Q is over 15 [13].

The factors of the second type come from the target itself, they are:
The geometric factors such as area, flatness, and thickness of the target
The material properties of the target, especially conductivity and magnetic
permeability of the target. For example, high-conductivity, nonmagnetic metals
such as aluminum or copper are the best targets because of the greater
conductivity of the material, and the greater flow of the eddy currents on the
surface [13]. Therefore, our optimization only takes into account good
conductive metals as target material with a constant relative permeability close to
1.
Skin depth of eddy current: If the lateral dimensions of the target are less than
twice of the sensor diameter, the eddy current distribution is difficult to predict
19
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

analytically [13]. Though these situations are difficult to model, 50 times of


standard skin can be assumed reasonably as effective thickness of the target for
FEM analysis. The simulation results in section 4.3.3.2 identify the correctness
of this assumption.

Besides the sensor coil and target, environment factors must be taken into account:
Operating frequency and resonant frequency. The basic point is that the sensor
must operate below its resonant frequency as an inductor at all.
Temperature of the target and the coil
Thermo-mechanical properties for the reliability
Standoff between sensor coil and target

In addition, the testing circuit and the signal acquisition system must also be taken
into account. Inductance, resistance, impedance amplitude or phase, and some
related parameters of the sensor are all possible testing properties. The optimal
parameter must be selected from these as unique testing signal so that the sensitivity
of the sensor for the displacement measurement is best. The testing circuit must
convert it into a voltage or a current signal for the process. The signal acquisition
system must record the clear signal and filter out the noise. In summary, all the
factors must be calculated and optimised so that the best sensitivity of sensor can be
obtained.

4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil


4.2.1 Analytic model of the LTCC coil for analytic analysis
As chapter 1 introduces, the design of a LTCC planar sensor was selected as one of
the main research objectives of this thesis. The central component of our eddy
current sensor is a planar LTCC coil. In this chapter, the structural details of the
planar coil will be determined and its main parameters will be analyzed by an
analytic method.

According to its working principle, eddy current sensors belong to the group of
inductive sensors. The requirements of the coil are high inductance, low capacitance
and low resistance. The structure of the coil must be designed in a way to match
these requirements.

Most of the conventional geometries for planar coils of single layer (see Figure 4.2.1
(a) (b)) are meander-types or spiral-types [51,52]. A meander-type inductor is simple
to fabricate but it suffers from low overall inductance because of the negative turn-
to-turn mutual inductance. A spiral type coil has a relatively high inductance but its
size is large compared to other coil types with the same number of turns. Due to the

20
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

requirement of high inductance, the spiral type was selected for the pattern of single
layers. Because the number of the turns of a single layer is limited for a given area, a
structure of multiple layers with the same solenoid direction and via fill connection
(see Figure 4.2.1 (c)) was finally selected. This geometric structure of the LTCC coil
matches the requirements for high inductance and small size. However, the serious
drawback of a multi-layer structure is that this structure introduces a high stray
capacitance and furthermore induces a resonant status of the coil at its self-resonant
frequency. Therefore, parameters of the coil must be calculated so that the operation
properties of the coil can be evaluated.

(a) (b) (c)


Figure 4.2.1 (a) Simplified schematic of a meander-type inductor; (b) a spiral-type inductor; (c) a solenoid
multiplayer coil.

Analytic calculations can provide electric parameters of a LTCC sensor coil. These
include inductance, self-capacitance, resistance, self-resonant frequency (SRF), skin
depth and so on. These parameters are essential for the design of a LTCC coil. The
model structure used for the analytic calculation is illustrated in Figure 4.2.1 (c). In
this model, the conductor is composed of many spiral-like thin rectangular films in
three dimensions and its material is the metal compatible with LTCC fabrication.
Therefore, some special formulas for inductance calculation of strips are used which
are different from those for normal solenoid coils. The limitation of an analytic
calculation is that it can evaluate only the static parameters of the sensor coil itself.
As for the properties of sensor coils which are concerned with frequency and
temperature dependence, we will utilize the finite elements method (FEM) using the
software ANSYS because of the complexity of the sensor structure and the difficulty
of solving the equations of an analytic calculation. For all the calculations of
parameters the influences of via fill were neglected because its geometric size is very
small compared to the thin strip in a planar coil.

4.2.2 Inductance calculations


Firstly, the inductance of the sensor coil is calculated. The inductance is a peculiar
property of a coil which only relates to its structure. This parameter is the most

21
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

important parameter of a sensor coil because it determines the inductive ability of an


inductor coil [53].

The total inductance of a coil is the sum of the self-inductance being generated from
every conductive metal strip separately and mutual inductance due to interaction of
two strips in different turns or layers.

4.2.2.1 Self-inductance
In this section, the self-inductance of a planar coil made of non-magnetic conductor
is calculated. The basis of the calculation is Greehouses formula [54] (see Equation
(4.1)) which calculates the self-inductance of a thin strip as shown in Figure 4.2.2.

2l w + t nH
Lself = 2l(ln +0.5+ ) (4.1)
w+t 3l cm

where Lself is the self-inductance in nH; l is the length of the conductor in cm; w is
the width of the conductor in cm; and t is the thickness of the conductor in cm.

Figure 4.2.2 Illustration of geometric parameters of a single conductor strip.

Because the thickness t and width w is the same for every strip of the coil, we only
need to input different lengths of strip from lo to li in x direction and from wo to wi in
y direction with the number of turns N to the Greehouses formula (Equation (4.1))
for different strips. Here, N describes the number of turns of the coil in one layer. By
summing up these separate values, about half self-inductance of coil in one single
layer (see. Figure 4.2.3) was obtained. In fact we neednt input different lengths of
the strip individually because there is a regulation between them. This regulation is:

ln=li+(n-1)P,

where n=1, 2, , N, and means nth turn; P is twice of the sum of pitch pt between
two strip and the width of the strip.

22
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

Figure 4.2.3 Top view of the LTCC coil which is designed and fabricated (see section 4.4.3).

We assume that the coil has mirror symmetry and the patterns are the same in each
layer. Therefore, to multiply the sum of above by the number for symmetry and the
number of layers K, the total self-inductance of one whole coil is obtained from the
equation shown as follows,

N
Ltotal-self = Lself (i ) *2*K (4.2)
i =1

where i is the number of the turn; N describes N pieces of strips in long side and wide
side of the coil respectively.

Using the design shown in Figure 4.2.3 as an example, the numerical parameters can
be found in Table 4.15, which are K=12, N=16, w=pt=131.7 m, t=10 m, lo=15.8
mm, wo=8.76 mm. Using all the values and the equation above, the final total self-
inductance of the whole coil Ltotal-self is 15.370 H.

4.2.2.2 The mutual inductance


The basic theory of the calculation of mutual inductances is the formula for
calculating the mutual inductance between two single strips in the same layer or
between different layers. Two formulae are used and compared. One is Hoers
formula, and another is Grovers formula. The main difference between them is
whether it takes the thickness of the strip into account or not. We will introduce them
individually.

23
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

Method 1Hoers formula (for 3D geometric structure)


The geometric model of Hoers formula is shown in Figure 4.2.4. 3D geometric
dimensions including the thickness of strip t are all taken into account. Dx, Dy, Dz
describe the relative position of two strips. When two strips are parallel in the same
layer, Dx is zero. When two strips are parallel but not in the same layer and turn,
Dz=(l1-12)/2. When two strips are in the same turn but in different layers, Dy=0 and
Dz=0. These three cases cover all situations for mutual inductance calculation of a
planar coil.
x z

Conductor 1
l2
Conductor 2
ll
Dz
Dx
y
Dy

Figure 4.2.4 3D geometric model of two strips for Hoers formula.

The formula referred to this model is as follows [55]:


0.008 y 2 z 2 y 4 z 4 x + x2 + y2 + z2
Lh = x ln
2 2
w t 4 4 4 y2 + z2

z2x2 x4 z4 y + x2 + y2 + z2
+ y ln

4 4 4 z2 + x2
x2 y2 x4 y4 z + x2 + y2 + z2
+ z ln

4 4 4 x2 + y2
1
+ ( x 4 + y 4 + z 4 3x 2 y 2 3 y 2 z 2 3z 2 x 2 ) x 2 + y 2 + z 2
60
xyz 3 xy xy 3 z xz
tan 1 tan 1

z x +y +z y x +y +z
2 2 2 2 2 2
6 6
l

tw

( x) ( y ) ( z )
3
x yz yz
tan 1
2 (4.3)
6 x x 2
+ y 2
+ z 0 0
0
24
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil


] ]s1 2 2 2
where f ( x, y , z ) ]q12 ( x ) r ( y ) ( z ) ( 1) i + j + k +1 f ( qi , r j , s k ) .

q r1

2 s2
i =1 j =1 k =1

We will then use this formula to calculate the mutual inductance in the three
situations referred to before. In the first step, we calculate the mutual inductance
between two strips in one layer which means Dx=0. The mutual inductance exists in
signed positive and negative values. When current flows in two strips are the same,
the value of the mutual inductance is positive, whereas, when the current flows are
opposite, the value is negative.

Figure 4.2.5 Illustration of a spiral coil with mark for direction of current flow.

When it was assumed that the calculating sequence is from out side to inside,
positive mutual inductance reads M+= M1,5+M3,7+M2,6+M4,8 in y-z plane, and the
negative mutual inductance reads M-=-M1,7-M1,3-M5,7-M5,3-M5,7-M2,4-M2,8-M6,4-M6,8,
where Mi,j means the mutual inductance between ith turn and jth turn.

The number of positive mutual inductances is 2N(N-1), and the number of negative
mutual inductance is 2N2. Summing up M+ and M- and multiplying the result by the
number of layers K, the mutual inductance of the whole coil due to the interaction of
strips on the same layer was obtained.

With the same method, we can calculate the mutual inductance due to the interaction
of the strips on different layers illustrated in Figure 4.2.6. When we exclude the
interaction of two strips having the same number of turn such as the interaction
between the 1st turn in the top layer and the 1st turns in the 2nd layer, the calculation
sequence and the numbers of positive and negative mutual inductances for the strips
on two layers are the same as that for the calculation of one layer case but with Dx 0.
In the x direction being the normal direction of the layers, all mutual inductances for
different assemblies of two layers must be calculated. For example, the 1st layer can
be connected to 2nd layer, 3rd layer, until the Kth layer, and the (K-1)th layer only can
be connected to Kth layer. The number of calculations of two layers is K(K-1)/2. The

25
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

total number of calculations for two strips is N(N-1)K(K-1) for positive mutual
inductance and N2 K(K-1) for negative values.

Figure 4.2.6 Illustration of coils in different layers.

Finally, we calculate the case of two strips in the same turn but in different layers. In
respect of this situation, the mutual inductance between two strips is always positive,
and the number of individual values is 2NK(K-1).

Summing up all the values for the three situations, the total mutual inductance of the
whole coil is obtained. Because the basic formula is complicated and the calculation
number is large, a program under the software Mathematica is used for computer
calculation.

Using the same model (see Figure 4.2.3) as that in the last section and one new
parameter Ph=96,36 m, which is the pitch between two layers, we obtained the total
mutual inductance of this coil which Mtotal is 232 H.

Method 2Grovers formula (for filament structure)

For Grovers formula, the geometric model is shown in Figure 4.2.7. The thickness
and the width of the strip were neglected so that the strip is regarded as a filament.
For the two strips in one layer, it is d=0. When two strips are parallel but not in the
same layer and turn, d is the absolute distance between two centers of the strips.
When two strips are in the same turn but in different layers, d is the perpendicular
distance of the two layers. Especially, is always negative with the value of
(l1+l2)/2.

26
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

Figure 4.2.7 General position of two conductors (filament) for Grovers formula.

Grovers formula reads [55]:


L g = 0.001[ sinh 1 ( ) sinh 1 ( ) sinh 1 ( ) + sinh 1 ( )
d d d d (4.4)
+d + +d + +d +d ]
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

where

sinh-1(x)=ln(x+ x 2 + 1 ), =l+m+, =l+, =m+.

ote that in the case when the two conductors are overlapped then is negative.

With the same calculation procedure as for Hoers formula, the total mutual
inductance of the same coil is obtained: Mtotal= 194 . Of course, the parameters w
and t are dispensable.

Finally, the self-inductance and mutual inductance are summed up for the total
inductance of the coil. The value of the inductance is as follow:

Table 4.1 The inductances calculated by three formulas

Lself (H) Mtotal (H) Ltotal (H)


Greenhouse: 15.37 Hoer: 232 247.37
Grover: 194 209.37

Comparing the two formulae for calculation of the mutual inductance, the Hoers
formula achieves a better precision but is more complicated and needs more
computation time.

27
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

4.2.3 The DC resistance of the coil


An ideal inductor coil would have no resistance and no capacitance. For a planar coil,
the resistance is relatively large, because the cross sections for current flow are very
narrow. The resistance of the coil is a very important factor affecting the quality
factor Q of the coil. It also can lead to energy dissipation of electromagnetic field.
The basic equation for the resistance calculation of a conductor is as follows:

l l
R= = (4.5)
A wt
where
l = total length of the coil windings; = resistivity of the coil material;
w = width of trace of a coil ; t = thickness of traces in a coil .

According to the coil model used in Figure 4.2.3, the length of the strip on one layer
is Lsingle = (lo+li+wo+wi)N=0.523 m. Therefore, the total length of the strip in the
whole coil (l) is equal to lsingleK, which is 6.27 m. The conductor material of this
LTCC coil is silver, and =1.610-8 m. Then the resistance of a single layer is
Rsingle=6.4 , and the resistance of the total LTCC coil is R=76.6 .

Compared to the value offered by the manufacturer of this LTCC coil that is 6.5
per single layer and 83 in total, the analytical value is close to this reference values.
The difference in the total resistance mainly comes from the contribution of via fills
because the analytical value of the resistance in a single layer is better matched with
the measured one than that of the total coil.

4.2.4 Capacitance calculation


Normally, capacitance is defined as the ability to hold charge by a pair of conductors
separated by empty space or by a non-conductor. For an ideal straight conductor,
there is no capacitance. But for a coil or an inductor, it has normally some stray
capacitance because of its spiral, meander, or solenoid structure and the interaction
between the coil and its surroundings such as its core or substrate. The capacitance
interacts with the inductance of the coil and induces a resonance status at self-
resonant frequency. Hence, the working behavior of the coil will be changed.

The stray capacitance of a coil is a result of three mechanisms [51,52,56,57].

When a single layer inductor works, a lead wire is required to connect the
inside end of the coil on the top layer to the outside, which introduces an

28
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

unnecessary capacitance between the conductors and the lead wire. This is
the first kind of capacitance source.
Then the second type of stray capacitance is the capacitance between
conductor layers and its resistive substrate or ground plane.
The third kind of capacitance is between two conductor strips of the coil itself
on the same layer or on different layers.

According to the LTCC coil model used before, the conductor is a thin metal
strip and the structure is a spiral coil of multiple layers without a ground metal
plane. The LTCC substrate is a material of low dielectric constant and
permittivity and good insulation properties. Because of the special structure and
material properties, the separate lead wire does not exist because it is only a part
of the conductor on the bottom layer, and the influence of substrate or ground is
also not existent. So, the first two kinds of capacitance for coils which are
induced by the interaction of conductor-to-lead wire and layer-to-substrate or
ground are neglected and the third type of stay capacitance is focused on

In fact the capacitance between two turns on the same layer also can be neglected.
The reason can be explained by a physical model for the capacitance of this
LTCC coil shown in Figure 4.2.8.

Figure 4.2.8 Equivalent physical model for calculation of the stray capacitance
between conductor strips shown in the cross-sectional direction of a coil.

29
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

According to the basic Equation (4.6) [28] for capacitance, calculation of two parallel
planar conductors (see Figure 4.2.9) yields:

0 r A 0 r lwe
C= = (4.6)
d d

where
r = relative dielectric constant, namely relative permittivity (a dimensionless number;
4.2 for FR-4 PC board, 7.8 for LTCC at 10 MHz ),
0 = dielectric constant of free space (8.8542 10-12 F/m),
d = distance between the center of two planar conductor surface (meters),
A= effective interacting area (m2),
l= length of strip; we= effective width of strip.

The capacitance is direct proportional to the effective area of two conductors and
inverse proportional to their distance. With this equation, the capacitance of two
turns on the same layer such as Turn1 and Turn2 in Figure 4.2.8 is much less than
that of two turns on different layers such as Turn1 and Turn4 because the interacting
width t=10 m of Turn1 and Turn2 is about 7% of that w=150 m of Turn1 and
Turn4, and the distance pt=150 m between Turn1 and Turn2 is about 1.5 times of
that ph=100 m between Turn1 and Turn4. Therefore, the capacitance between two
conductors on the same layer can be neglected by setting Ct =0 for simplification of
its physical model. Further more, the resistance R connecting two turns on the same
layer is small, and R=0 is assumed for simplification of the physical model.

Figure 4.2.9 Geometric model of a pair of parallel planar conductors.

With these assumptions, the physical model can be converted to a PSPICE electronic
circuit model shown in Figure 4.2.10. In the DC electronic circuit with passive
components consisting of pure capacitors or resistors, the serial and parallel relation
for two resistors is the inverse of that for two capacitors. The symbol of capacitance
between two different layers can be described as resistor, but the inverse of the
resistance value is the final value of capacitance, that is C~1/R in the unit F. The

30
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

capacitance of grade 1 is defined as the capacitance between two layers which are
adjacent to each other such as layer 1 and layer 2. For example, R7 is sum of
capacitances of two turns between the adjacent layers such as Cturn1,turn4, Cturn2,turn5,
Cturn1,turn5 and is sorted to capacitances of grade 1. The capacitance of grade 2 is
defined as the capacitance between two layers which has an interval of 1 layer such
as layer 1 and layer 3. For example, R11 of grade 2 shown in Figure 4.2.10 is the sum
of capacitances of two turns between layer 1 and layer 3 such as Cturn1,turn8, Cturn2,turn7.
The rest may be deduced by analogy. We just calculate until capacitances of grade 4
because the distance between two layers is far enough to further neglect values of
capacitance. For a circuit only with capacitors as passive components, it is

V 1 R
= = . When we add a reference resistor with the value of 1p and apply
I C
I V V16
the voltage of 1 volt to V , = = . Because R16<<R, it yields
R + R16 R16
V V16
= VC and C=V161012 (pF). The result is computed by the circuit simulation
R R16
software PSPICE. V16 is equal to 15.13 pV and the capacitance of the whole coil Ctotal
is 15.13 pF according its converting relation with V16.

R32 R33

605.5mV
173.92m 173.92m
R1 R2 R3

173.87m 173.87m 173.87m


R11 R14 R22 R23 R24

174m 174m 174m 174m 174m


R7 R8 R9 R10 R13 R15 R17 R18 R19 R20 R21

18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m 18.27m
R12 R25 R26 R27 R28

174m 174m 174m 174m 174m


729.4mV
R4 R5 337.3mV
R6

173.87m 173.87m
173.87m
R29 464.5mV R30 R31
270.6mV

173.87m 173.87m 173.87m


171.2mV
1.000V
R34662.7mV R35
394.5mV
828.8mV 535.5mV
173.92m
R36 173.92mR37

173.92m 173.92m
R38 R39

173.92m 173.92m

V1 R16

0V 15.13pV
1Vdc
1p
0

Figure 4.2.10 Simplified electronic circuit model for the stray capacitance of the whole coil with N=12
layers.

31
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

So far, the three parameters concerning DC impedance of the coil, which are
inductance, capacitance and resistance, were obtained. According to these basic
parameters, a whole electronic model of the sensor shown in Figure 4.2.11 can be
built. Some other parameters concerning the operating properties of coils at high
frequency can be further obtained as follows.

R L

sensor

Figure 4.2.11 The equivalent circuit model of the sensor.

4.2.5 Quality factor, skin depth, self-resonant frequency


4.2.5.1 Quality factor (Q)
The quality factor of an inductor coil is the ratio of its ability to store energy to the
total sum of all energy losses within the component.

L ( x )
Q = Q( x) = (4.7)
R( x)

where
Q is the quality factor (no units),
is the operating frequency of the coil in radians per second,
L is the inductance of the coil (in H),
R is the total resistance associated with energy losses (in Ohms).

Q depends on the standoff x between the sensor and the target, because both L and R
are functions of the displacement. The higher the value of Q is, the stronger the effect
of inductance is and the weaker the effect of resistance is. A high Q leads to high
accuracy and stability.

For example, in the coil with geometric sizes shown in Table 4.15, its inductance is
247 and the resistance is 83 . We find that the unloaded quality factor Q is 19.9
at 1 MHz according to the equation above. This Q matches the requirements [28] that
the unloaded Q must be over 15 for a typical design of the eddy current sensor. It
means that the design of this coil is qualified for the requirement of electronic
parameter Q.
32
4.2 Analytical calculation of parameters of a LTCC coil

4.2.5.2 Skin depth


Skin depth is defined as the characteristic penetration distance which a plane wave
travels through a conducting medium. For the eddy current measurement system, the
depth that eddy currents penetrate into the target is affected by the frequency of the
excitation current and the electrical conductivity and magnetic permeability of the
specimen. The depth of penetration decreases with increasing frequency and
increasing conductivity and magnetic permeability. The depth at which the eddy
current density has decreased to 1/e or about 37% of the surface density, is called the
standard depth of penetration (see Equation (4.8)) [13,41].

2
= (4.8)

where
: skin depth (meters),
: radian frequency (radians/second),
: magnetic permeability (H/m), e,g. non-magnetic metal, =0r=1.2610-6H/m,
: conductivity (Siemens/meter),e.g. coppers is 5.78107S/m.

Table 4.2 Skin depth for various metals and frequencies

Metal Conductivity Resistivity Skin depth (m)


(106 S/m) (10-8m)
10 kHz 100 kHz 1 MHz 10 MHz

Copper 58 1.73 660 210 66 21

Aluminum 38 2.6 820 260 82 26

Titanium Alloy 0.59 16.9 6600 2100 660 210

The skin depths for several nonmagnetic metals at various frequencies are listed in
Table 4.2. For example, the skin depth of copper at 10 kHz is roughly 0.66 mm.
Although the whole eddy currents in target penetrate deeper than one standard depth
of penetration, they decrease rapidly with the depth of the target (see Figure 4.2.12).
Therefore, the effective part of target for the measurement by the eddy current sensor
is only the tip of the target. When we build a simulation model with an exciting
frequency of over 10 kHz for a copper target, 50 times of skin depth tip should be
enough. That is about 30 mm.

33
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

Figure 4.2.12 Illustration of skin depth for inductive eddy current [41].

4.2.5.3 Self-resonant frequency (SRF)


As shown before, any inductor exhibits stray a capacitance between windings. This
capacitance in conjunction with the inductance forms a "self resonant frequency" for
the loop or inductor. The frequency where the inductance peaks is called the self-
resonant frequency (SRF). It is defined as [13]

1
SRF = (4.9)
2 L(Ccable + Ciwc )

where Ciwc is the inter-winding capacitance or stray capacitance of the coil, and
Ccable is capacitance per unit length from the cable length and the manufacturer's
specification.

For example, in the coil (see Figure 4.2.3) that is the example for LRC calculations,
having an inductance of 247.37 and a capacitance of 15.13 pF, we find that the
SRF is 2.60 MHz. The exciting frequency must be below this frequency for an
inductive eddy current sensor.

34
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

In summary, the basic structure of a spiral pattern with solenoid structure for the
LTCC plane sensor coil was determined. For this kind of coil, a set of analytic
formulas was defined. Using these methods, very important static unloaded
frequency dependent parameters L, R, C and Q, , SRF can be calculated and the
matching for the related requirement of a suitable eddy current sensor can also be
evaluated. However, the analytic method can only evaluate the feasibility of a sensor
coil alone when the geometric sizes of the coil are given. With respect to the
interaction between the sensor and the target, and the optimal geometric sizes for
sufficient sensitivity of the sensor, computer simulation must be carried out.

4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor


4.3.1 FEM simulation
In the field of engineering design, when complex problems are encountered, of
which the mathematical formulation is tedious and its solution is impossible by
analytical methods, numerical techniques must be used. FEM is a very powerful tool
for getting the numerical solution of a wide range of engineering problems. The basic
concept is that a body or structure is divided into smaller elements of finite
dimensions called Finite Elements. The original body or structure is then
considered as an assembly of these elements connected at a finite number of joints
called as Nodes or Nodal Points. The properties of the elements are formulated
and combined so that to obtain the properties of the entire body.

The software package ANSYS/Multiphysics is a popular FEM solution tool. It can


provide advanced coupled physics technology, combining structural, thermal,
acoustic and electromagnetic simulation capabilities in a single software product and
its applications involves many respects from rotating machines (motors and
alternators), sensors and actuators, power generators and transformer systems, and
Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). Therefore, ANSYS was chosen as the
main tool for the FEM analysis of the eddy current sensor. Three functions of
ANSYS, modal, harmonic electromagnetic and thermal-mechanical analysis, are
utilized in our work.

For the optimization of the eddy current sensors, a comprehensive analysis method
based on FEM concerning multiple aspects such as vibration of blades, interaction
between the sensor coil and the target and the thermo-mechanical reliability was
developed. Figure 4.3.1 shows the whole process of optimization of the sensor. First,
the modal analysis for the vibration mode of a blade was done. In order to find the
optimal mounting position, a model of the whole system including target and sensor
was built and their interaction was investigated by electromagnetic (EM) calculation
to find an optimal structure and exciting conditions. This structure was converted to a

35
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

LTCC model and its thermo-mechanical reliability was evaluated. Meanwhile, the
impedance change of a sensor with different displacement of the target was analysed.
The results can be used by some mathematic softwares such as Matlab, Mathmatica
to evaluate the sensitivity. On the contrary, when reliability and sensitivity of the
sensor is not sufficient, EM simulation must be repeated in order to offer better
results for other types of analysis. Therefore, all steps in the whole process of
optimization are interlinked and must be taken into account together. The analysis
details will be addressed in the next section.

Concept of the of
Concept simulation
work

100

80
Resistance /

60

40

Modal Simulation 20

0
-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80
Horizontal distance / mm

Physical level----ElectroMagnetic Simulation(Ansys)

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0
8 8.2 8.4 8.6 8.8 9 9.2 9.4 9.6 9.8
-4
x 10

Test: Fuction Investigation

Figure 4.3.1 Optimization concept by FEM analysis.

4.3.2 Optimizing the sensor location - modal vibration simulation


In this section, the object of modal simulation analysis is the vibration of the target
blades. From the optimization point of view, the mounting position of sensor must be
decided first. Because we want to monitor the movement including the vibration of
the blades, the sensor should be mounted at the position where it can detect the
largest vibration amplitudes of the blades. The vibration of a blade is very complex,
but it can be composed of many basic vibrational modes at different frequencies.
Therefore the mode shapes are analyzed by modal analysis for different resonance
frequencies in order to find a proper position where the amplitude is large for many

36
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

modes of vibration. This location is considered as the optimal mounting position for
the sensor.

For the FEM model, two kinds of shapes of the tip surface, the shark shape and
rectangle shape, are analyzed (see Figure 4.3.2). The 3D model reflects the actual
turbine blade product and its material is Titanium. The width of the blade is 30 mm,
the thickness is 2.5 mm, and the length is 100 mm. One end of the blade is
constrained without movement and the other end is free. From the analysis results,
the first 15 modes are extracted from a frequency of 4.83 Hz to 338 Hz with the
subspace method.

Figure 4.3.2 FEM model of blade with two different end shapes.

Figure 4.3.3 shows the results of mode shape. The colour labels describe the scale of
deformation and the text offers the information on various natural frequencies
corresponding to the number of the sub-step. According to these results, for most
modes of vibration of the blade, the largest deformation occurs in the point that lies
at the end of the blade tip. Therefore it can be concluded that the reasonable
mounting position of a sensor should be just over the sharp end of the turbine blade
as shown with a red arrow in Figure 4.3.3. For the shark shape, there is only one
optimal mounting position for the sensor, and for a rectangular shape there are two
optimal positions because of the mirror symmetry of the blade. This conclusion is
very important for the situation that the width of the blade is far longer than the size
of the sensor coil. The whole rotor integrating individual vibration mode of blades
shown in Figure 1.1 also can be obtained using its cyclic symmetry.

37
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

sub=1 sub=14
f = 4.846 f = 331.8

sub=3 sub=2
f = 35.006 f = 34.778

sub=6 sub=6
f = 101.85 f = 110.12

sub=10 sub=5
f = 238.13 f = 79.858

Figure 4.3.3 Vibration modes of the blade at different natural frequencies in Hz, (note: figures with blue
border show the blades with tip of rectangle shape, the rest show the blades with tip of shark shape).

38
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

4.3.3 Optimizing the sensor sensitivity-EM evaluation


The harmonic electromagnetic analysis was done to calculate the electromagnetic
field that interacts between sensor coil and target blade. Through harmonic
electromagnetic analysis (EMAG in ANSYS), some useful electromagnetic
properties of turbine blade and coil are obtained, such as the eddy currents on the
turbine blade, the electromagnetic field distribution, the impedance and the
inductance. Hence, the results can identify the working principle of the eddy current
sensor and evaluate its sensitivity. 2D and 3D analyses are used individually for their
different application field.

4.3.3.1 2D simulation
The 2D electromagnetic analysis is applied in the case of axial symmetry. For the
eddy current measurement system, two situation with target and without target can be
investigated for the horizontal displacement evaluation. The relation between the
sensitivity of the sensor and some influence factors for 2D simulation can be
investigated. In addition, the relation between the impedance of the sensor and the
clearance between the sensor and the target is obtained.
First, we build a reference structure according to some simple evaluations (see Table
4.3). Then, the influence factors are changed and the resulting sensitivity is compared
with that of the reference model so that one can get the optimal parameters for the
influence factors. Finally, a detailed relationship between impedance and the
clearance is obtained.
Table 4.3 Simulation parameters and their results

Material
part material (108 m) r
coil Ag 1.60 1
target Cu 1.73 1
Geometry
coil ro (mm) ri (mm) Height h (mm) fill factor turns
5 0.2 1 1/20 200
target l/2 (mm) thickness (mm) gap (mm)
2.5 5 1
Electrical conditions
f=1 MHz voltage=5 V
Results
R0() L0(H) Rs() Ls(H) R s R0
(%)
L s L0
(%) Q0
R0 L0

43.56 127.43 48.76 112.82 11.9 11.5 18.38

39
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

The FEM model is composed of an exciting coil forced by voltage, turbine blade,
near field air and far-field infinite air (see Figure 4.3.4(b)). Element type is plane53
with voltage-fed or currentfed, and element INFIN111 is used for define infinite
far-field air shown in out-layer of the FEM model. The results in the form of 2D flux
(see Figure 4.3.4(a)(c)) present clearly the influence of the target to the
electromagnetic field. All parameters and results are listed in Table 4.3.

(a) (b) (c)


Figure 4.3.4 (a) results of 2D flux when there is a target; (b) 2D EM model; (c) ) results of 2D flux without
target when target material was set as air.

For the calculation of the impedance of the sensor coil, ANSYS can offer an
inductance Ls and an unloaded resistance R0 calculated by its geometric structure.
Also, ANSYS can provide the real part Re(I) and imaginary part Im(I) of the current
through the coil. Hence, we can obtain the inductance and the resistance of the whole
system through electric circuit equation because the voltage applied to the coil is
fixed. The related calculation principles are as follows:

Current I=Re(I)+jIm(I), Impedance Z=Rs+jLs

Because of Z=V/I=V/ [Re(I) +jIm(I)], = tg-1[(Im(I)/Re(I))], the loaded impedance


values of sensor coil can be obtained as:

V V
Rs= cos , Ls= sin
2 2
Re( I ) + Im(I) Re( I ) + Im(I) 2
2

At the same time, the sensitivity of the sensor in the case of target existence was
define as:

40
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

R s R0 L s L0
100% is for resistance, 100% is for inductance
R0 L0

where the subscript note 0 means unloaded, and s mean loaded.

Sequentially, the various influence factors on the sensitivity are changed and
compared to the results of the reference system. First, the exciting source was
investigated. Table 4.4 shows the difference of results by this kind of comparison.

Table 4.4 The comparison between various exciting sources for the coils with reference structure

Results Reference conditions f=2 MHz f=0.5 MHz U=10 v U=1 v


f=1 MHz,Voltage U=5 v f=1 M f=1 M
R0() 43.56 43.56 43.56 43.56 43.56
L0(H) 127.43 127.43 127.43 127.43 127.43
Rs() 48.76 51.24 47.13 48.76 48.76
Ls(H) 112.82 112.57 113.17 112.82 112.82
R s R0 11.9 17.6 8.19 11.9 11.9
(%)
R0

L s L0 11.5 11.7 11.19 11.5 11.5


(%)
L0

According to these comparisons, some conclusions about the exciting source are
obtained. The sensitivity of the resistance and the inductance both increase with
exciting frequency increasing. Higher exciting frequency can obtain better sensitivity.
Whereas, they have no relation with the amplitude of exciting source, therefore, we
can choose any voltage value according to the data acquisition requirement.

In the next step, the structure and material of the target become the comparing
objects. The results are shown in Table 4.5. Comparing the change of sensitivity
because of different target material, some conclusions about the influence of
resistivity of the material can be obtained. The loaded resistance and inductance of
the sensor coil increase with the target material resistivity, but their changes are not
proportional to the change of resistivity. For example, when resistivity is 1.5 times
and 23 times to the reference value, the resistance changes 2% and 30% respectively,
and the inductance changes only 0.17% and 3%. The resistivity influence on the
resistance of eddy current sensor coils is much larger than the influence on the
inductance, but all the change is far smaller than the change of resistivity itself.

41
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

Table 4.5 The influence of the change of materials of target on the sensor sensitivity

Results Refer. condition Al-=2.610-8 m Ti-=4010-8 m


Cu-=1.7310-8 m
R0() 43.56 43.56 43.56
L0(H) 127.43 127.43 127.43
Rs() 48.76 49.82 63.46
Ls(H) 112.82 113.01 116.05
R s R0 11.9 14.3 45.7
(%)
R0

L s L0 11.5 11.3 8.93


(%)
L0

In this part, the geometry of the target is also considered. The thickness of a target
does not influence the impedance of the sensor when it meets the requirement that
the thickness of the target must be over 50 times of the skin depth as discussed in
section 4.1. This point can be identified by the results on the 2D flux. The width of
the target will influence sensitivity seriously. The relation between the width of the
target and the sensitivity of the sensor coil is shown in Figure 4.3.5. When the size of
target is smaller than twice of the size of the sensor coil, the sensitivity of inductance
decreases with the decrease of the width of the target quickly. For the sensitivity of
the resistance, the influence of the width of the target is less than that of the
inductance, but when the width is smaller than 1.6 times of the size of the sensor, the
sensitivity change of the resistance of the sensor is also very large. Therefore, for the
displacement measurement of a narrow blade, evaluation of its sensitivity before the
fabrication is very important.
30
28 R e s is ta n c e
26
s e n s tiv ity
in d u c ta n c e
24
s e n s tiv ity
22
20
Sensitivity / %

18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
W id th o f ta rg e t / m m

Figure 4.3.5 The relation between width of target and sensitivity of sensor coil.

Next, the parameters concerning the sensor coil are investigated. These parameters
include coil fill factor, turns, the width and thickness of conductor film, and the
width and thickness of the whole coil. In fact, these structural parameters interact
with each other. For example, when the thickness of the coil is constant, the change
of the coil fill factor leads to a change of the width and thickness of the conductor
42
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

film. Table 4.6, Table 4.7 and Table 4.8 show the influences of coil geometry on the
sensitivity of the sensor.
Table 4.6 The influence on impedance and sensitivity of sensor because of the size changes of conductor
film and layer numbers when outer size of coil is constant

Results Reference Fill1/10 Fill1/40 Turns300 Turns100


turns=200 Fill=3/40 Fill=1/40
fill=1/20 thin layer thick layer
narrow film wide film
R0() 43.56 21.78 87.12 65.34 21.78
L0(H) 127.43 127.43 127.43 286.72 31.86
Rs() 48.76 26.97 92.31 77.03 23.08
Ls(H) 112.82 112.82 112.82 253.85 28.20
R s R0 11.9 23.8 6.0 17.9 6.0
(%)
R0

L s L0 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5


(%)
L0
Q0 18.38 36.76 9.19 27.57 3.39

According to Table 4.6, we know that the size of the conductor film such as its
thickness and width cannot influence the inductance sensitivity of the sensor, but
changes the resistance sensitivity of the sensor much. When the number of turns of
the coil increases, resistance and inductance both increase, but the sensitivity of
inductance does not change. Therefore, the conclusion can be drawn that the changes
in a coil such as size of the conductor film or the number of layers can not affect the
sensitivity of inductance although the absolute values of the inductance and the
resistance are changed much when the outer size of the whole coil is given.
Table 4.7 The influence on impedance and sensitivity of sensor when height of coil changes

Results Refer. conditions H=1.5 mm H=.5 mm H=0.5 mm


h=1 mm,fill=1/20, Turns=300 Turns=100 Fill=1/10
turns=200 thin layers
R0() 43.56 65.34 21.78 43.56
L0(H) 127.43 265.7 34.56 138.24
Rs() 48.76 74.64 23.43 50.17
Ls(H) 112.82 239.39 29.94 119.74
R s R0 11.9 14.2 7.5 15.2
(%)
R0

L s L0 11.5 9.9 13.4 13.4


(%)
L0
Q0 18.38 25.55 9.97 19.9

43
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

According to Table 4.7, the height of the sensor coil can influence the sensitivity of
inductance. The thinner the coil is, the better the inductance sensitivity of the sensor
will be. The height of the coil is the only factor that can influence the sensitivity of
the inductance although other parameters can change the value of the inductance.
When the height is given, the influence of other parameters such as layers, turns, fill
factor etc. appears to be the same as shown in Table 4.6. Here, the quality factor is
considered because the height cannot decrease infinitely by decreasing of the number
of turns of the coil. The quality factors should meet its requirement of greater than 15
as discussed before. Therefore, to make the layer as thin as possible, it is a better
method to decrease the height of the coil.

Table 4.8 The influence on impedance and sensitivity of sensor when surface area of coil changes

Results Refer. conditions ri=1 mm ro =6 mm ro =4, ro =6 mm


ro=5 mm, narrow Wide film small coil ri =1.2
ri=0.2 mm film
R0() 43.56 60.32 42.99 44.45 60.32
L0(H) 127.43 177.46 154.89 100.11 218.62
Rs() 48.76 67.44 48.36 48.96 67.71
Ls(H) 112.82 157.39 139.09 87.98 196.91
R s R0 11.9 11.80 12.6 10.14 12.24
(%)
R0

L s L0 11.5 11.3 10.2 12.12 9.93


(%)
L0
Q0 18.38 18.48 22.63 14.15 22.77

According to Table 4.8, a big coil cannot bring good sensitivity of inductance. This
conclusion is the same as that comes from Figure 4.3.5. The sensor coil with the size
similar to that of the target has better sensitivity of inductance than the one having
bigger size than that of target. In addition, smaller inner radius of sensor can bring a
better sensitivity of the inductance and resistance. Therefore, the sensor coil should
be as small as possible and be filled as full as possible in area of whole sensor for the
good sensitivity of inductance.

In respect of the coil material, the change of resistivity can change the resistance of a
coil but cannot change the unloaded inductance of the coil. According to the
principle of electromagnetic induction, it does not change the exciting field, and the
inductive field also does not change for the same target. Hence, the loaded
inductance of the sensor does not change, but the resistance and its sensitivity change.
Table 4.9 identifies this analysis.

44
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

Table 4.9 The influence of the coil materials on the sensor sensitivity

Coil/ R0() L0(H) Rs() Ls(H) R s R0 L s L0 Q0


-8
(%) (%)
10 m R0 L0

Ag 43.56 127.43 48.76 112.82 11.9 11.5 18.4


1.6
Au 59.90 127.43 65.09 112.82 11.5 11.5 13.37
2.2
Pt 288.61 127.43 293.80 112.82 1.8 11.5 2.77
10.6

Finally, the clearance between sensor and target is evaluated. Figure 4.3.6 shows the
resistance and inductance of a sensor coil dependent of the clearance between sensor
coil and target. Except the parameter of clearance, all other parameters and
conditions are the same as those of the reference model shown in Table 4.3. These
curves can demonstrate the measurement principle of eddy current sensor for
proximity of target. When the proximity changes, the inductance and resistance of
coil both change. The change tendencies of inductance and resistance are opposite
and the change rate of the inductance is larger than that of the resistance.

800

700
Resistance /
Inductance L

Resistance
600
Inductance
80

60

40

20

0
0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5 3,0
Clearance between sensor and target / mm

Figure 4.3.6 Resistance and inductance of sensor coil dependent of proximity between sensor coil and
target.

In summary, 2D EM simulation identifies the measurement principle of the eddy


current sensor for proximity of the target and some important properties such as the
influence on the sensitivity from the width of target, and the influence from the
materials of coil and target. With respect to the improvement of the inductance
sensitivity, only structures of whole coil such as thinner, smaller and full coil and
increasing frequency can be implemented. For the sensitivity of the resistance of the
coil, almost the changes of all the influence factors such as increasing turns, fill

45
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

factors, the size of conductor film and layer can improved it even if the structure of
coil does not change.

4.3.3.2 3D simulation
For the 2D simulation, there are some limitations for application. For example, when
the structures of the coil and the target do not possess axis symmetry and a
displacement measurement in horizontal direction is evaluated, a 3D EM analysis
must be used although the calculation effort increases very much [58].

Like the 2D model, the 3D FEM model is also composed of coil, turbine blade, near
field air and far-field infinite air, but it has no symmetric constrains and loads
because neither of the coil nor blade possesses axial symmetry. According to the
conclusions from modal analysis, the sensor is mounted over the sharp end of the
blade. For simulating the movement of shark shape blade, the blade is rotated 45o
and is put onto static individual horizontal positions in order to simulate the passage
movement. Firstly, a rectangle or racetrack shape for the coil is brought out
according to the long and narrow structure of the target. A solid sphere and a hollow
sphere describe the near field air and the infinite field air. For the loads application,
the definition of current flow must use a local coordinate system. Because the real
constant of the current direction only can be defined as one value, the local
coordinate system must be rotated and moved so that the current flow in related parts
possesses the same direction value. The whole model is given in Figure 4.3.7. All the
parameters and conditions are listed in Table 4.3.

Figure 4.3.7 Model of EM simulation for the measurement system of eddy current sensor in 3D EM
analysis composed of the target in shark shape, coil in racetrack structure, and air in sphere model.

46
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

Table 4.10 The parameters for the 3D EM simulation

Material
part material ( 108 m) r
coil Ag 1.6 1
target Ti 40 1
Geometry
coil lo(mm) li(mm) wo lo height fill factor turns
h(mm)
6 3 4 1 1 0.8 150
target w(mm) L(mm) thickness(mm) gap(mm)
2.5 30 50 times skin depth 0.7
Conditions
f=5 MHz Voltage=20 v
Through the 3D harmonic electromagnetic analysis, electromagnetic properties are
obtained, such as:
Eddy currents on the turbine blade. Figure 4.3.8 shows the current density
distribution in the blade when the blade lies at different positions.
Electromagnetic field distribution
Loaded impedance and inductance of the sensor coil. Figure 4.3.9 shows the
curve of inductance and resistance in the range of 30 to 30 mm in horizontal
direction.

(a) (b)
Figure 4.3.8 The eddy current distribution with movement of positions (a) just over; (b) away 2 mm.

140 100

130
80

120
Resistance /
inductance / H

60

110

40
100

20
90

80 0
-40 -20 0 20 40 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40

Horizontal distance / mm Horizontal distance / mm

Figure 4.3.9 The relationship between horizontal displacements and the resistance/inductance of the system.

47
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

These results offer us some useful information. First, the eddy current in the blade
distributes not only on the surface of blade, but also distribute in the lateral part of
the blade. In FEM model, we do not build the whole structure of the target. For the
thickness of target, we assume that the electromagnetic field does not act in the part
of target that is far away 50 times of standard skin depth at high frequency. Therefore
the thickness of the target is set to 50 times of standard skin depth shown in Table
4.10. It is observed that the depth of the eddy current on the surface or in the lateral
side of blade is always not over the safety thickness of target according to Figure
4.3.8, although the vertical depth of lateral eddy current is deeper than that of surface
eddy current. Hence, the assumption for the thickness of target is identified right.
With this conclusion, the whole thickness of blade does not need to be considered.
Hence the number of elements decreases and the calculation task reduces.

Second, according to the key curves in Figure 4.3.9 that reflect the test principle of
the eddy current, the resistance of the coil increases obviously with the passage of
blade in horizontal direction, but the inductance decreases with the same movement
of blade. The change rate is smaller than that of the resistance. This result has a close
relationship with the target material. When the resistivity of the target is over 2010-8
m like for Ti, the change rate of the resistance is larger than that of the inductance.
Therefore, the influence of the resistance must be taken into account when we
calculate the test signal because the change tendencies of resistance and inductance
are opposite. Whereas, when the resistivity of the target is below 1010-8 m like in
the cases of Cu and Al, we can predict that the change rate of the resistance decreases
and that of the inductance increases according to the conclusion of the 2D EM
analysis. Therefore, the inductance or impedance can be used as testing signal at high
frequencies because the absolute value of resistance is far smaller than that of the
inductance and the change rate is smaller too.

With the same method, another three FEM model are built. The only difference of
them is the top view shape. The shapes are round, square and rectangle (racetrack).
The sensitivity for the target in the situations with target and without target is
compared. For the purpose of saving calculation time, the rectangle shape replacing
the shark shape is used as the target, and symmetric is applied. The results are
shown in the Table 4.11.

48
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

Table 4.11 The comparison of sensitivity for the target with different coil shape

Coil shape Ls(H) Rs() L0(H) R0() R s R0 L s L0 Qs


(%)
R0 L0
Racetrack 53.1 50.63 60.5 5.04 9.05 12.23 32.9

Round 21.66 19.46 24.39 2.48 6.85 11.19 34.9

Square 25.85 22.61 29.20 2.93 6.72 11.47 35.9

According to the Table 4.11 above, we find that the sensitivity of the resistance and
the inductance for the coil with rectangle shape is better than that of the round and
the square shape. Therefore, the rectangle shape of the sensor coil is optimal for the
displacement measurement of the blade. Then, for the rectangle shape, its width, area,
and fill rate can be evaluated according to the conclusion. For example, in the
direction of the long side of the coil, we consider that the longer the long side of
rectangle is, the better the sensitivity is, because rectangle shape is better than the
square shape. Of course, the side cannot be too long because it must be over the part
of blade with the largest vibration. Then, for the wide side of rectangle shape, the
sensitivity is better with more narrow side according to the results of 2D analysis (see
section 4.3.3.1). But, we must emphasize that this side cannot be too narrow because
when the blade is too wide and passes under the sensor, the change of impedance is
too small when the effective surface area of the blade is twice of the size of the coil.
Therefore, it is reasonable that the size of the coil is bigger than the size of the target
because the requirement for change of impedance is not only a big change of
absolute value between two situations of with and without target, but also the curve
of impedance exists a sharp peak when the blade pass the centre of the sensor.

In summary, 3D EM analysis can offer a clear display of the distribution of eddy


current density in the whole blade. The impedance change detail for the horizontal
movement of the blade was obtained. This signal can be used to evaluate sensitivity
of the sensor in testing the movement of blade. The sharper the curve and the bigger
the change rate is, the better the sensitivity is. The 3D structure of the coil is
investigated and rectangle shape is found to be the optimal shape and its related
optimal size was discussed. This kind of optimal sensor can be transferred to the

49
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

LTCC structure that is composed of a spiral shape thin strip. Its thermal reliability is
evaluated with different materials for the sensor coil.

4.3.4 Thermo-mechanical FE analysis


For the LTCC process, the stress and strain around one via hole are bigger than in
other parts. Therefore, we focused on this part and built a detailed model (see. Figure
4.3.10), that we use to evaluate different conductor materials in order to achieve
better thermo-mechanical properties. The FEM model reflects a bilayer structure.
The material of the substrate is the green tape, and that of thin film is the comparison
object in this section.

Figure 4.3.10. The element model of the detail parts around the connecting via.

For the thermo-mechanical analysis, the temperature dependent properties of LTCC


material system are the key input. Here we consider that the properties of substrate
do not relate with the temperature. Main changes come from the conductor of the coil.
E-modulus (Youngs modulus), temperature coefficient of expansion (TCE) and
the stress-strain curve are all functions of the temperature. Their original material
data are from the material handbook [59] as shown in Table 4.12.

Table 4.12 The material properties of conductor platinum and silver [59]

Pt (Platinum)
Temperature 0.2% offset Ultimate Tensile Youngs Modulus E TCE
o
( C) Yield Stress 0.2 Stress (UTS) u (105 MPa) 10-6/oC
(MPa) (MPa)
20 49.03 137.29 1.697 9.0
250 39.23 107.87 1.640 9.3
500 29.42 76.49 1.559 9.4
750 19.61 43.15 1.383 9.5

50
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

Ag (Silver)
20 29.42 147.10 8.04 18.89
250 24.52 117.68 7.25 20.69
500 19.61 78.45 6.02 23.75
750 16.67 44.13 4.85 26.25

The meaning of 0.2 can be explained by the stress-stain curve shown in Figure
4.3.11. The yield point corresponds to the point where the material begins to have
unrecoverable deformation. When some materials have no distinct yield point like in
Figure 4.3.11 (b), a 0.2% offset is used to obtain an approximate yield point in order
to replace the well-defined yield region (see Figure 4.3.11 (a)). The 0.2% offset point
is determined by drawing a line parallel to the linear region of the curve starting from
point 0.002 on the strain axis. The intersection of this line and the stress-strain curve
defines the 0.2% yield point. In addition, the curve shown in Figure 4.3.11 (a) is not
suitable for FE simulation.

(a) (b)

Figure 4.3.11 The illustration of strain-stress curve for yield point: (a) a well-defined yield region which
not suitable for FE simulation (b) definition of the 0.2% yield point.

When stress is below p1 and strain is below p1, the stress is linearly related to
the strain, i.e., the curve is a linear straight line through zero point, and its slope is the
value of Youngs Modulus E. The end point of this region is the proportional limit,
i.e., the point where the stress-strain curve begins to become nonlinear. When the
stress is between p1 and y and the strain is between p1 and y, the curve is
nonlinear. The total 0.2% offset yield strain (0.2) is (0.2/E)+0.002, and the stress-
strain relationship close to the 0.2% offset yield point satisfies the empirical function
= k . Assuming one point near the 0.2% offset yield point with a difference of
strain of 0.01%, its stress can be calculated: 1 = k 0.2 0.0001 . Meanwhile, it
is 0.2 = k 0.2 . Therefore,

51
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

0.2
1 = 0.2 0.0001
0.2

As a first order approximation, a simplified curve of the complete stress-stain


relationship is obtained and shown in Figure 4.3.12.

y
P1

Figure 4.3.12 The simplified stress-strain curve for whole range.

The curve is linear in every region. The regions A1 and A2 are called elastic region,
and A3 is called plastic region. Then, the slope t1 of region A2 can be described: t1=
(0.21)/0.0001. For the proportional limit point pl, it is the intersection of A1 and
A2.

pl = E pl for region A1

0.2 pl = t1 ( 0.2 pl ) for region A2

Solve these equations:

0.2 - 10 4 ( 0.2 - 1 ) 0.2


pl =
E 10 4 ( 0.2 - 1 )

According to the related equation and assuming the strain corresponding to the
ultimate stress being 15%, all the values for three points can be obtained. The stress-
strain curves at four different temperatures for materials of platinum and silver
shown in Figure 4.3.13 are analysed by ANSYS, respectively.

52
4.3 Design and optimization of the eddy current sensor

160 o
o
20 C 20 C
140 o 140 o
250 C 250 C
o o
120 500 C 120 500 C
o o
750 C 750 C
100 100

Stress / MPa
Stress / MPa

80 80

60 60

40 40

20 20

0 0

-20 -20
-0,02 0,00 0,02 0,04 0,06 0,08 0,10 0,12 0,14 0,16 -0,02 0,00 0,02 0,04 0,06 0,08 0,10 0,12 0,14 0,16

Strain Strain

(a) (b)

Figure 4.3.13 Stress-strain curve as input of material properties for FEM analysis (a) conductor is Platinum
(b) conductor is silver.

A temperature cycle condition as load is applied to a thermo-mechanical analysis


[60]. The system is first heated up from room temperature (20 C) to 600 C rapidly,
then held at 600 C for some time and finally cooled down to 20 C quickly.
Stresses and strains are induced due to the thermal expansion in combination with the
plasticity of the materials.

Figure 4.3.14 Equivalent stress distribution comparison between Ag and Pt as conductive metal after a
temperature cycle (a) Platinum m= 182 MPa (b) Silver m = 239 Mpa.

Figure 4.3.14 shows that the maximum stress values of silver are somewhat higher
than those of platinum. So, in prototype fabrication, platinum should be the better
material than silver to be selected as the conductive material with respect to the
thermo-mechanical reliability. Whereas in respect of the cost, the price of Pt is about
60 times of the price of silver. In addition, the resistivity of Pt is about 6.6 times of Si.
The coil using Pt will have too high resistance. Therefore, the cost and the properties
of the conductor must be considered comprehensively according to different
application fields.

53
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

4.4 LTCC layout design for eddy current sensor


The Institute of Circuit Technology and Electronics, TU Ilmenau is the implementer
for our design of the LTCC sensor coil. For the LTCC process, first we must know
the guideline that is process standard or capability. According to all the guidelines for
LTCC fabrication, the modification of the sensor design was done and the final
layout was obtained for fabrication.

4.4.1 Material selection of LTCC coil


Dupont 951 green tape material system was used for fabrication of our sensor. Its
material properties are shown in Table 4.13. The Dupont 951-AT tape is chosen as
the material of substrate for our sensor coil, because the thickness of sensor should
be as thin as possible. According to 2D EM simulation, a thinner sensor coil can
result in a better sensitivity and a thinner substrate can implement more layers in a
given thickness of whole sensor coil.

Table 4.13 Material properties of Dupont 951 green tape [61]

Unfired Properties Typical Fired Properties


System Capability Electrical
Via Diameter Resolution 100 m Dielectric Constant 7.8
(10 MHz)
Line/space Resolution 100 m/100 Dissipation Factor 0.15%
m (10 MHz)
Maximum Layer Count >80 layers Insulation >1012
Resistance (100 V
DC)
Thickness Breakdown >1000 V
Voltage (V/25 m)
951-AT 114 m 7% Physical
951-A2 165 m 7% Thermal Expansion 5.8 ppm/C
(25-300 C)
951-AX 254 m 7% Density 3.1 g/cm3
Shrinkage Camber Conforms to
setter
(x,y) 12.27%0.3% Refire at 850 C Stable
(z) 15% 0.5% Surface 0.22 m
Smoothness
Tensile Strength 1.7 MPa Thermal 3.0 W/mK
Conductivity
Young's Modulus 152 GPa Flexural Strength 320 MPa

54
4.4 LTCC layout design for eddy current sensor

The material of coil conductor is silver ink 6145. It is the successor of silver ink 6142.
The printed thickness is higher (fired about 14 microns, 6142 less than 5 microns),
but the printability is better, which means that the sensor coil can get a lower
resistance. The material of the solder is Pd/Ag because it is suitable for
corresponding silver ink.

4.4.2 Structural design optimization with fabrication guideline


For the Dupont 951 green tape material system, the fabrication capability complies
the limit for the size of line and via as shown in Table 4.14.

Table 4.14 System Capability of Dupont 951 green tape material system [61]

System Capability
Via Diameter Resolution 100 m
Line/space Resolution 100 m/100 m
Maximum Layer Count >80 layers

These guidelines for LTCC fabrication were used as the limit condition and attend
the optimization design flow shown in Figure 4.4.1. This design flow concerns with
all the conclusions of simulation, analytic calculating method and limit of LTCC
guidelines. The final design size and geometric parameter of optimisation are listed
in Table 4.15.

Table 4.15 Geometric parameter for LTCC fabrication

Unfired Fired
Border (mm) 5050 43.743.7
Outer Size (mm) long 18, wide 10 long 15.7, wide 8.7
Lines Width/space(m ) 150 131
Layers 12 12
Turns 16 16
Via (m) 286 250
Padstack (m) 400 350
Drill (mm) 1.15 1.0
Solder (mm) 2.29 2.0

55
4 Design of the eddy current sensor

Figure 4.4.1 A complete optimization design flow for LTCC eddy current sensor.

4.4.3 Layout design


The layout design software CAM350 demo was used. It reads fabrication rules into
the PCB design domain (compatible with LTCC) and presents them in a way that is
understood by the designer. It can offer a complete flow, from design through
fabrication, which streamlines the transition of engineering data into successful
physical fabrication. The format of CAM350 is *.pcb or *.cam. Layout files in
Gerber format are used for practical fabrication. These Gerber files must include all

56
4.4 LTCC layout design for eddy current sensor

the information concerning the pattern of every layer, solder mask, drill and scribe.
The design graph for odd and even layer is shown in Figure 4.4.2. A sensor with
square shape is also designed for fabrication so that the sensor with rectangle shape
has a comparing object.

(a)

(b)

Figure 4.4.2 CAM350 design graph (a) top layer with board line, drill and scribe lines (b) the second layer
with solder pad.

57
5 Experimental system and methods

5.1 LTCC fabrication of the eddy current sensor coil


The Institute of Circuit Technology and Electronics, TU Ilmenau implemented our
design of the LTCC sensor coil finally. Along the scriber line, one board was diced
into 4 sensors respectively by rotating blade. One of them was cut and polished so
that to observe the lines in the cross-section (see Figure 5.1.1) of every layer by
microscope. The top view of sensor examples was displayed in Figure 5.1.2. These
sensors became experimental measurement objects.

100m

Figure 5.1.1 Cross section of LTCC coil under microscope.

Figure 5.1.2 Top view of LTCC eddy current sensors.

58
5.2 Sensor characterization

5.2 Sensor characterization


The principle of the eddy current sensor is the impedance change of the coil with the
relative displacement between the sensor and the conductive object. Therefore, its
main characters involve impedance influenced by factors of exciting frequency,
temperature of environments, displacement of the sensor in vertical and horizontal
directions relative to the object, surface area and material properties of measurement
target. Through the characterization of the relation between the impedance of the
sensor and the influencing factors, the sensitivity, stability and feasibility of sensors
under harsh environments can be evaluated.

5.2.1 Static impedance of sensors (L, C, R)


We assume the electronic model of sensor is composed of an inductor (L), a resistor
(R) and a capacitor (C). As shown in Figure 4.2.11, L is in serial with R and in
parallel with C. At low frequencies the sensor is analogous to L in serial with R,
because C can be regarded as an open circuit. At high frequencies, the sensor is
effectively resembled of C in parallel with R because L reacts as a resistor with large
resistance.

R L

sensor

Figure 5.2.1 The equivalent electronic model of the sensor.

Resistance and inductance of the sensor at low frequency without object were
measured by HP/Agilent LCR meter 4263B. The data can be compared with analytic
calculations. Normally, the values of analytic calculations are a little smaller than the
real value because the analytic calculation neglects the details of the corner parts of
every layer and filled parts in through-holes. As for the capacitance value, we
measured an approximated value at the maximum frequency of impedance analyser
Solartron1260, which is 20 MHz. The equivalent circuit of the sensor coil is a
capacitor in parallel with a resistor of large resistance.

5.2.2 Static position measurement system


In fact, the influences of eddy current on the impedance of the sensor coil are very
different between the vertical proximity direction and the horizontal passage
direction. We will test them separately.

59
5 Experimental system and methods

5.2.2.1 Proximity testing

(a) Target with big surface (b) Target with small surface
Figure 5.2.2 Proximity measurement system for different target surfaces.

As shown in Figure 5.2.2, a linear stage in 3 directions, a supporting frame for the
sensor, a sensor, a copper target plate with a width of 30mm and a thickness of 1mm
and an impedance analyser constitute the testing system. The exciting frequency was
fixed to a constant value of 1 MHz. The proximity distance was changed from 0.1
mm (near sensor surface) to 4.5 mm (far away from sensor surface).

5.2.2.2 System for impedance testing by frequency sweep


The frequency of the exciting source affects the sensor behavior greatly as seen in the
last section. In this section, we study the influence of frequency on the behavior of
the sensor by testing the sensor with a wide frequency range of the exciting source.

HP IB High frequency
test m odul

Com pute r

Labview

Zwick
Control solartron
Data acquisition R,L,Phase,Z,
measuring Movement
and adjust temperature

Figure 5.2.3 Measurement system of frequency sweep.

60
5.3 Measurement of the temperature properties

As shown in Figure 5.2.3, the frequency sweep function of Solartron 1260 played an
important role in this system. Through a HP interface board, all the measured data
can be recorded online by a computer. A tensile machine (type: Zwick BW91250)
was used to move the target, a thin copper plate, to pass by the sensor.

First, the frequency sweep measurement of the impedance properties of sensor


without target was carried out. Four parameters were measured. They are the
inductance (L), the resistance (R), the amplitude (A), and the phase angle (). The
impedance can be expressed as a complex number by these parameters:
Z=R+jL=Aej. Of course, the resistance and the inductance are not commonly
regarded values, but are real and imaginary parts of a complex number.

The impedance can be described as a complex Z=|Z|ej=Re+jm=1/Y,

1 R jL R L
Y= + jC = + jC = + j[C ]
R + jL R 2 + (L) 2 R 2 + (L) 2 R 2 + (L) 2

L
At resonant frequency, Im=0, that is, C = 0 . It deduces
R 2 + (L ) 2

1 R2
resonant = (5.1)
2
LC L

5.3 Measurement of the temperature properties


The main purpose of applying LTCC technology to eddy current sensors is to
improve the thermal properties of the planar sensor. The feasibility to work at high
temperature up to 600oC must be evaluated by experiments.

5.3.1 Experimental system

As for electronic measurement systems, a current source and a voltage meter were
used for the measurement of resistance at DC condition. A constant DC source was
applied on the sensor and, the voltage between the two ends of the sensor was
measured. The four-wire measurement method, more commonly known as Kelvin
measurement, was utilized because the resistance of the cables in the oven will
change largely with the increase of the temperature. The test lead or test interface
wiring was automatically nulled out due to the use of the four-wire technique. The
61
5 Experimental system and methods

circuit of electronic connection is demonstrated in Figure 5.3.1. Besides the DC


resistance measurements, the same instruments shown in Figure 5.2.3 are used for
the frequency sweep impedances measurements. The Solartron 1260 and its
computer data acquisition system were also used with a similar four-wire connection
method.

L0 R0

sensor
C0

R-cable R-cable

A Meter AMP
IAc or IDc

V
Meter VOLT

Figure 5.3.1 Schematic of four-wire measurement method.

Two ovens were used in this experiment to offer different temperature environments.
One chamber furnace is from company Carbolite and can be heated from room
temperature up to 600oC. Another one is from company Binder with a maximum
temperature of 300oC.

Thermistor

Figure 5.3.2 Testing system of Impedance measurements at different temperature in oven.

62
5.4 System for real-time measurements

The support frame of the sensor is made of machinable ceramic, Duratec 750. This
kind of material can bear temperatures up to 1000oC. The insulation material of cable
is glass-fiber. When working at 300oC, the pad on the surface of the sensor was
connected with cable by normal solder electrically. When the sensor worked at
600oC furnace, a direct mechanical contact implements the electrical combination.
Especially, a K-type thermistor located close to the eddy current sensor was used to
measure the real temperature value. The photograph of the whole system is shown in
Figure 5.3.2.

5.3.2 Method for calculation of temperature coefficient of resistance for


sensor coil
Temperature coefficient of resistance is defined as the amount of change of the
resistance of a material for a given change in temperature. A positive value of
indicates that R increases with the increase of temperature; a negative value of
indicates that R decreases with the increase of temperature; and zero indicates that
R is constant over a given temperature range. An approach to model the temperature
dependency leads one to expect a fractional change in resistance being proportional
to the temperature change:

R
= T (5.2)
Rs

where R = change in resistance (),


Rs = standard resistance at reference temperature 20 oC (),
= temperature coefficient of resistance (K-1),
T = change in temperature (K).
The temperature coefficient of resistance can be described as

dR 1
= (5.3)
dT Rs

5.4 System for real-time measurements


The dynamical testing system is composed of three main parts, a rotating system, an
electronic signal measurement and acquisition system and the testing objects. Figure
5.4.1 demonstrates the construction diagram and Figure 5.4.2 shows a photograph of
the testing system. The detail of every subsystem will be introduced in the following
sections.

63
5 Experimental system and methods

Adjustable
clearance Testing Circuit Oscilloscope GPIB Interface
LTCC Multifunction, Tektronix HP-IB ISA
self-designed TDS2014
Sensor

DC power supply Labview


for data acquisition

Computer
AC Motor Speed controller
Siemens 1LA7 Siemens
Software
Metal rotor Micromaster 410
STARTER

Figure 5.4.1 General structural diagram of whole testing system.

Figure 5.4.2 Photograph of the testing system.

5.4.1 Rotation control and generator


Motor, frequency inverter and the configuration software of manufacturer Siemens
form a rotating system. A standard asynchronous low voltage motor 1LA7073 was
selected. The specifications of the motor are listed in Table 5.1. This kind of AC
motor can rotate at different speeds proportional to the frequency of the power
supply offered by inverter Micromaster 410. The configuration of parameters of
inverter can be implemented by operating panel manually or through serial port
RS485 by computer. Starter or Drivermonitor is suitable software for controlling
setup. The connection diagram about working principle is shown in Figure 5.4.3.
Because the relationship between the rotating speed and the output frequency is
64
5.4 System for real-time measurements

linear, for the quick configuration it just needs to change the minimum frequency and
maximum frequency that is set to constant 50 Hz. Therefore the real rotating speed is
fmin3000/fmax (rpm).

Table 5.1 Specification of the motor

3000 rpm, 2-pole, 50 Hz


Rated Size Order Efficiency Starting Starting Stalling Torque Moment Weight
output No. Operating data Torque Current Torque class Of (Kg)
(KW) at rated output (Nm) (A) (Nm) (KL) inertia
Rated Rated Rated J
speed Current Torque (Kg m2)
(rpm) (A) (Nm)
0.55 71M 1LA7 2800 1.36 1.9 2.5 4.3 2.6 16 0.00041 6
073
2AA

RS 485

Starter/ drivermonitor Power 230V/50Hz Micromaster 410

Figure 5.4.3 Diagram of rotating generator system.

5.4.2 Electronic signal acquisition system

The testing circuit plays a very important role in this system. This circuit has two
separate functions: Current source for voltage measurement directly, voltage source
for response of resonant status changes. The principle is illustrated in Figure 5.4.4.

As for the current function, a current source with constant amplitude and frequency
is an exciting source. The output signal V-output is the multiplication of the exciting
current and the impedance of the sensor. The amplitude of the output voltage
includes the information on change of blade in approximate direction and the time
interval of two peaks of the signal reflects the movement of blade when it passes the
sensor.

65
5 Experimental system and methods

I1 V1

V-output C

R1
R0
2 C0 sensor

C1 L1 sensor L0

1 R1

2k
2
+
3
V-output
1
-

(a) current function (b) voltage function


Figure 5.4.4 The schematic picture of signal testing.

As for the voltage function (see Figure 5.4.4 (b)), a voltage source with constant
amplitude and frequency is the exciting source. The constant frequency here must be
adjusted to keep the sensor and the capacitor C of the circuit in resonant status. The
output signal V-output is the product of the current passing through the sensor and the
reference resistance R1.

Compared to the voltage function, the current function can obtain the testing signal
including clear information on the clearance between the sensor and the blade tip, but
the voltage function cannot get this kind of information. However, the voltage
function is more sensible for the initial resonant position of the blade and the peak of
the signal reflecting the arrival of the blade is sharper.

The main component of the generator in the circuit is the Maxim038. This system
was manufactured by the electronics service center of the IMTEK.

The oscilloscope Tektronik TDS2014 with 1260 byte memory and Agilent 54622D
with 2M bytes memory was chosen as waveform display and only the latter was used
as date acquisition device because of its large memory. According to the Nyquist
Theorem, the highest frequency that can be accurately represented is less than one-
half of the sampling rate. Based on the analysis in the last chapter, we select about 1
MHz as exciting frequency. Therefore the sampling rate must be 2 MHz at least. If
the rotating speed of the motor is 1200 rpm, which corresponds to 20 Hz, and we
want to record 2 periods of the motor rotations that is 100 milliseconds, the
requirement for memory is to multiply the sampling rate by the record time that
equals to 100k bytes at least. This is the reason why we select the Agilent 54622D as
data acquisition device. A programme written with Labview reads the data into

66
5.4 System for real-time measurements

computer through GPIB card and cable. These data can further be analyzed by
mathematical software such as Matlab.

5.4.3 Test objects

The movement of blades in the rotating rotor were our testing targets. Two rotors
were fabricated with the same geometrical structure (see Figure 5.4.5 (a)), but in
different materials. One of them is made of copper and another of Aluminum. The
diameter of the rotors is 100 mm and the thickness is 30 mm. The length of the
blades is 25 mm and their width is 5 mm. There are 8 pieces of blades on one rotor.

25
100
50

(a) (b)

Figure 5.4.5 Testing objects (a: The geometric size of rotor; b: picture for mount of sensor and rotor).

The sensor was mounted in a ceramic support. This kind of ceramic Duratec 750
material can be mechanically fabricated and can bear high temperatures up to 1000
o
C. It possesses good thermal and electric insulation properties, and therefore does
not influence the electromagnetic field and testing signal. The related vertical
position and the clearance between the tip of the blades and the surface of the sensor
can be adjusted by a linear stage.

67
6 Results and discussion

6.1 Characterization of the sensor


6.1.1 Static unloaded impedance of sensors (L, C, R)
Firstly, the basic resistance, inductance and capacitance of the sensor without target
were obtained. The measurement results are shown in Table 6.1 and correspond to
the electronic model of the sensor shown in Figure 5.2.1.

Table 6.1 Unloaded impedance (L, C, R) of sensor coil

HP/Agilent LCR meter


Frequency (Hz) L (H) R ()
50 295-365(not stable) 81.56
100 256 81.53
200 261 81.51
500 262 81.52
1k 264 81.51
10k 264 81.51
100k 263 82.20
Solartron 1260
Frequency (Hz) C(pF) R ()
20M(with target) 15.5 2.3k
20M(without target) 16.0 2.5k
L(uH) R ()
100(with target) 242 81.9
100(without target) 239 82.0
Analytic value DC L=232 H, R=76.6 , C=15.7 pF

At low frequencies, the influence of the target on the inductance of the sensor coil is
very limited. Similarly, at high frequencies, the influence of the target on the
capacitance of the sensor coil is also very small. These parameters can be compared
with related parameters of analytic calculation. Both the values calculated by analytic
analysis and those measured by experiment are approximate. The correctness of
analytic calculations was verified by the experiments.

68
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

6.1.2 Static position measurement


In fact, the influences of eddy current on the impedance of the sensor coil are very
different between vertical proximity direction and horizontal passage direction. We
tested them separately in this section.

6.1.2.1 Proximity testing


Figure 6.1.1 and Figure 6.1.2 show the values of L and R with different proximity.
The target surface widths are 30 mm and 1 mm, respectively. The exciting frequency
of the sensor is 1 MHz and the testing conditions corresponding these two curves are
shown in Figure 5.2.2 (a) and (b) respectively.

350 inductance
resistance

300
Inductance L / H
Resistance R /

250

200

150

0 1 2 3 4 5

vertical distance / mm

Figure 6.1.1 The relationship between resistance, inductance and proximity distance for copper target with
30mm surface width.

400

380

360
inductance1/2
Inductance L / H
Resistance R /

340 inductance1/4
resistance1/2
170 resistance1/4

160

150

140
0 1 2 3 4 5

vertical distance/mm

Figure 6.1.2 The relationship between resistance, inductance and proximity distance for copper target with
1mm surface width (The thin plate lies over the center and up of sensor coil).

The experimental results shown in Figure 6.1.1 and Figure 6.1.2 are in line with our
FE simulation results (see Figure 4.3.6). For the proximity measurement, when the
target surface area is bigger than that of the sensor, the change of inductance is
obvious, while the influence of the resistance can be neglected. On the contrary, if
the target surface area is smaller than that of the sensor, the narrow surface cuts the
69
6 Results and discussion

eddy current. Then the change of inductance is small and the change of the resistance
becomes comparable to that of inductance and must be taken into account for
practical design of the measurement circuit.

6.1.2.2 Horizontal passage testing


The measurement system was the same as shown in Figure 5.2.2 (b), but movement
direction was changed to 90o of the horizontal passage direction. The gap between
the coil and the conductive object was kept constant at 1 mm. Figure 6.1.3 and
Figure 6.1.4 present the variations of the inductance and the resistance of a
rectangular coil at three frequencies. At 2 MHz, the resistance values are fitted with a
Gaussian curve because the measured resistance values are rather noisy.

1000

900

800
Inductance / H

700
L500k
L1Mhz
600
L2Mhz

500

400

300
0 5 10 15 20 25
Horizontal distance /mm

Figure 6.1.3 The variation of the inductance of a rectangle coil at 500 kHz, 1 MHz and 2 MHz in the
distance range of 26 mm.

200 R500k
R1MHz
R2MHz
180
(Gauss fit)
Resistance /

160

140

120

100

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Horizontal distance / mm

Figure 6.1.4 The variation of the resistance of a rectangle coil at 500 kHz, 1 MHz and 2 MHz (fitted curve)
in the distance range of 26 mm.

70
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

Observing Figure 6.1.3, we find an interesting phenomenon. The experimentally


obtained tendency of inductance change does not exactly resemble the simulated
results. In the middle part of the curve there exists an inverse peak. This can be
explained by the influence of the capacitance in the equivalent model of the sensor.
When a thin target passes the sensor and is placed exactly over the centre of the
sensor, two surfaces of metal proximate and the effect of capacitor is greatest. When
this kind of behaviour become comparable and even over the properties of inductor,
the change tendency will inverse. For the wide target, the curve tendency is same as
the results of simulation shown in Figure 4.3.9. As an example, the inductance
change of the sensor when a copper plate with 5 mm thickness passing through was
shown in Figure 6.1.5.

As for the resistance, a similar conclusion can be drawn as before. When the change
of resistance is comparable to that of the inductance, the resistance or the quality
factor are proportional to the inductance and the inverse of resistance can be regarded
as testing signal. In addition, the amplitude of the impedance cannot be regarded as
the testing signal because the change tendencies of the resistance and the inductance
are negative. In fact, the change tendency is not always the same because it is related
to frequency and surface area of target. We will discuss this according to the
frequency-sweep curve in next section.

350
5mm
340

330

320
Inductance / H

310

300

290

280

270

260
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Horizontal distance / mm

Figure 6.1.5 Inductance change when a 5 mm thickness target passes the sensor with 1 MHz exciting
frequency and 1.5 mm clearance to blade tip.

6.1.3 Frequency sweep of sensor


First, the frequency sweep measurement of the impedance properties of a sensor
without target was carried out. Four parameters were measured. These are the

71
6 Results and discussion

inductance (L), the resistance (R), the amplitude (A), and the phase angle (). The
impedance can be expressed as a complex number by these parameters:

Z=R+jL=Aej

The resistance and the inductance are real and imaginary parts of a complex number.

80

L
60
R
40
Resistance / x1500
inductance / x50H

20

-20

-40

-60

-80
0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.6 Change of inductace and resistance of sensor with frequency.

100 phase
|Z|
80

60

40
Impedence / x1500

20
o

0
Phase /

-20

-40

-60

-80

-100

0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.7 Change of impedance amplitude and phase angle of sensor with frequency.

The frequency sweep curve can be explained by the equivalent electronic model of
the sensor. Because the sensor coil contains an inductor and a resistor, all the values

72
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

will produce significant changes of the resonant frequency. The resonant frequency
can be evaluated by Equation (4.9).

Using the testing values in Table 6.1, R = 81.5, L=256H, and C=16pF and the
equation (4.9), one finds =15.62, f=/2 =2.486 MHz.

This frequency is very similar to the experimental value of 2.16 MHz. Both are not
exactly the same because many factors such as capacitance and inductance of cables
and parasite capacitance were not taken into account for calculation. Therefore, the
experimental value is always smaller than the calculated one.

Looking at the curves in Figure 6.1.6 and Figure 6.1.7, one finds that below the
resonant frequency, the behaviour of the sensor is similar to an inductor. The value of
inductance increases with the frequency and reaches its maximum value at the
resonant frequency. Correspondingly, the phase angle increases and tends to +90o at
which angle the component is a pure inductor. At resonant frequency, the angle and
value change suddenly. The inductance changes from positive maximum value to
negative value, and the angle change from approximate +90o to -90o. The sensor
begins to act as a capacitor. Therefore, the working frequency of an eddy current
sensor must be smaller than the resonant frequency according to its inductive
principle. As for the separate resistance and the absolute value of impedance, both
increase from initial values to reach the maximum value at resonant frequency and
then decrease abruptly. Because the working frequency must be smaller than the
resonant frequency, the impedance properties above the resonant frequency are not
considered in our case.

6.1.4 Material properties of target


One copper plate and one aluminum plate with the same thickness of 5 mm are
chosen as targets. The clearance between the tip of plate and the surface of the sensor
is 1 mm. The main difference between the two materials is resistivity (). The
resistivities of copper (Cu) and aluminum (Al ) are 1.7310-8 m and 2.610-8 m,
respectively. The inductance and resistance of the sensor with targets of these two
materials and a reference curves without a target as a function of frequencies are
shown in Figure 6.1.8 and Figure 6.1.9.

According to the two figures, one finds that the influence of the target material on the
measured sensor inductance and resistance are weak, although there is a big
difference in the resistivity between the two target materials. Al is about 1.5 times
larger than Cu, but in the whole measured frequency range the difference of
resistance is smaller than 6% and the difference of inductance is smaller than 0.5%.
Combining with the results in Table 4.2, we know that the inductance of the sensor is

73
6 Results and discussion

hardly influenced by the targets resistivity. When the targets resistivity changes
because of variation in environments such as a temperature change or a material
property changes, the inductance of the sensor keeps essentially unchanged.
However, the influence of the resistivity of the target on the resistance of the sensor
is higher than on the inductance, but this change is not proportional to the change of
the resistivity. When resitivity changes 1.5 and 15 times at 1 MHz, the resistance
change 3% and 34%. The change rate of resistance of the sensor is about 2% of the
change rate of the target resistivity.

400
1m
Cu
380 without Target
Al
500 360
Inductance / H

340
0

320
Inductance / H

-500
300

-1m
280

260
0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M

Frequency / Hz
240

220

200
200.0k 400.0k 600.0k 800.0k 1.0M 1.2M 1.4M 1.6M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.8 Inductance of the sensor as a function of frequency without target, with Cu target and with Al
target.

40,0k
Cu
560
35,0k
without Target
Al
30,0k
480
25,0k
Resistance /

20,0k 400
Resistance /

15,0k

10,0k
320

5,0k

240
0,0
0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M
Frequency / Hz
160

80

0,0 200,0k 400,0k 600,0k 800,0k 1,0M 1,2M 1,4M 1,6M


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.9 Resistance of the sensor as a function of frequency without target, with Cu target and with Al
target.

74
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

6.1.5 Response to target lateral displacement at different frequencies


In this section, the same thin copper plate is put at five different positions as shown
in Figure 6.1.10. Then, the frequency sweep measurements are carried out
individually.

target
Far
.
.
.
U p 1 /4

m id
coil
D o w n 1 /4
.
.
.
D ow n

Figure 6.1.10 Illustration for testing position of target plate in testing system shown in Figure 5.2.2 (b).

440
Lfar
420 L-up1/4
Lmid
5,0m
Lfar 400 L-down1/4
4,0m L14 Ldown
Lmid
3,0m
380
Inductance / H

L41
2,0m Ldown

360
Inductance / H

1,0m

0,0
340
-1,0m

-2,0m
320
-3,0m

-4,0m 300

0,00 1,00M 2,00M 3,00M 4,00M 5,00M


Frequency / Hz 280
500,0k 600,0k 700,0k 800,0k 900,0k 1,0M 1,1M 1,2M

Frequency / Hz

(a) (b)
1k
Lfar
950
L-up1/4 380

900 Lmid
850 L-down1/4 375

Ldown
800 370
Inductance / H

Inductance

750
365
700

650 360

600
355

550
-3 -2 -1 0 1 2
500 Horizontal distance

450

400
1,2M 1,3M 1,4M 1,5M 1,6M 1,7M 1,8M 1,9M
Frequency / Hz

(c) (d)
Figure 6.1.11 Inductance of sensor with target at different positions. (a) whole frequency range; (b)
enlarged curve with frequency interval of 500 kHz to 1.2 MHz; (c) enlarged curve with frequency interval
of 1.2 MHz to 1.9 MHz; (d) illustration for change tendency when target passes by the sensor at 1 MHz.

75
6 Results and discussion

The measurement results shown in Figure 6.1.11 tell us that the change tendency of
the inductance is always the same when the working frequency is smaller than the
resonant frequency. However, as for the resistance (see Figure 6.1.12), the change
tendency is different within different frequency ranges. Here, we define a frequency
called critical frequency. Below this critical frequency, the resistance change
tendency follows the simulation results and the principle of eddy current. The
resistance increases with the approach of a target. Above this frequency, the
resistance changes in such a way that is similar to the change tendency of inductance.
According to Figure 6.1.12, the critical frequency of this LTCC sensor is about 1.5
MHz. This phenomenon is also reflected in the amplitude of impedance, because its
value is the square root of the sum of the squares of resistance and inductance. Below
the critical frequency, the resistance must be taken into account because the change
tendencies of resistance and inductance are opposite and it cancels the contribution of
the inductance to the amplitude.

180
Rfar
170 R-up1/4 f =1 MHz
Rmid
160 R-down1/4
147
Rdown
150
146
resistance /

140 145
Resistance

130 144

143
120
142
110
141

100 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2
Horizontal distance
90

500,0k 600,0k 700,0k 800,0k 900,0k 1,0M 1,1M 1,2M

Frequency / Hz

(a)

Rfar
800
R-up1/4 f =1.5 MHz
Rmid
700 R-down1/4 340
Rdown
600
resistance /

500
Resistance

400

300

200 320
-3 -2 -1 0 1 2
Horizontal distance
1,2M 1,3M 1,4M 1,5M 1,6M 1,7M 1,8M

Frequency / Hz

(b)

76
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

120000
Rfar Rfar
120000
R14 R14
100000 Rmid Rmid
R41 100000 R41
Rdown Rdown
80000 80000

resistance /
resistance /

60000 60000

40000
40000

20000
20000
0

0,0 1,0M 2,0M 3,0M 4,0M 5,0M


1,8M 1,9M 2,0M 2,1M 2,2M 2,3M 2,4M 2,5M
Frequency / Hz
Frequency / Hz

(c) (d)
Figure 6.1.12 Influence of target position on the frequency dependent sensor resistance. (a) resistance at
500 kHz-1.2 MHz and its change tendency within this frequency range illustrated at 1 MHz; (b) Resistance
at 1.2 MHz-1.8 MHz and its change tendency between 1.2 MHz and resonant frequency illustrated at 1.5
MHz; (c) Resistance at 1.8 MHz-2.5 MHz; (d)whole frequency range.

Zfar
3,0
Z1/4
Zmid
Z-1/4
Zdown
2,5
Impedance / k

(a)
2,0

1,5

1,0

500,0k 600,0k 700,0k 800,0k 900,0k 1,0M 1,1M 1,2M


frequency / Hz

12
Zfar
Z1/4
Zmid
10
Z-1/4
Zdown
Impedance / k

8
(b)

1,2M 1,3M 1,4M 1,5M 1,6M 1,7M 1,8M 1,9M


frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.13 Amplitude of impedance of the sensor coil at frequencies from 500 kHz to 1.5 MHz.

77
6 Results and discussion

As shown in Figure 6.1.13, the changing rate of amplitude below the critical
frequency at different positions is smaller than that of inductance. The changing rate
of amplitude over the critical frequency at different positions is similar to that of
inductance because the change tendency of resistance is the same as that of
inductance. However, because the frequency is very high meaning that L is much
larger than the value of resistance, the positive influence of the resistance on the
amplitude of impedance is not obvious. This conclusion is very important for the
design of the testing circuit. When the working frequency is over the critical
frequency, the amplitude of impedance or inductance of the sensor can be chosen as
testing signal. When the working frequency is below the critical frequency, however,
inductance, resistance or quality factor are optional testing signals.

6.1.6 Influence of surface area of target


As mentioned before, the surface area is an important influence factor to the
impedance of the sensor. We use three copper plates with thicknesses of 1, 4 and 5
mm as target objects. The clearances between the tip of the plates and the surface of
the sensor are 1 mm.
As shown in Figure 6.1.14, the bigger the target surface area is, the more the
influence on the inductance of sensor is, which means that the sensitivity of the
sensor is better. As for resistance properties (see Figure 6.1.15), different target
surface areas induce different critical frequencies of changing tendency. The critical
frequencies are inversely proportional to the surface area of the target. The critical
frequency for the target with big area is smaller than the target with small area. In
terms of the impedance amplitude of the sensor (see Figure 6.1.16), the conclusion in
section 6.1.5 is identified again. At low frequencies the change of impedance
amplitude is very small because the changes of the inductance and the resistance
cancel each other. When the surface is bigger, the change increases more quickly.
Therefore, when we select testing signal and an optional exciting frequency, the
surface area of the target must be taken into account. For bigger target, working
frequency needs not to be very high. We can choose the frequency at half of resonant
frequency as working frequency. This ensures that the sensor works in inductive
principle because the frequency is far away from the frequency for its capacitive
properties. At the same time, this frequency is normally above the critical frequency
for change tendency so that the contributions of inductance and resistance to the
impedance do not cancel each other. It must be born in mind that the critical
frequency for change tendency of resistance is much higher when the target is very
thin. Impedance amplitude cannot be regarded as the testing signal below this critical
frequency. Only resistance, inductance, or quality factor can be used as the testing
signal. When the working frequency is over the critical frequency and close to the
resonant frequency, both inductance and impedance amplitude can be used as testing

78
6.1 Characterization of the sensor

signal, but the capacitor properties will influence both signals when target is located
close the center of the sensor. The center peak of the signal will produce an opposite
change that complicates the signal processing.

Thickness
1,5x10
-3
320 1mm
4mm
1,0x10
-3 5mm
300
far

Inductance / H
-4
5,0x10
280
Inductance

0,0
260

-4
-5,0x10
240

-3
-1,0x10
220

-3
-1,5x10
0 1x10
6
2x10
6 6
3x10 4x10
6
5x10
6 200
Frequency / Hz 200,0k 400,0k 600,0k 800,0k 1,0M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.14 Inductance as a function of sweep frequency for targets with different thickness.
160

35k
Thickness
150 1mm
30k
4mm
140 5mm
25k far
130
Resistance /

20k

120
Resistance /

15k

110
10k

100
5k

90
0

80
-5k
0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M

Frequency / Hz 200.0k 400.0k 600.0k 800.0k


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.15 Resistance as a function of sweep frequency for targets with different thickness.

1,4k Thickness
35k
1mm
4mm
30k 1,2k
5mm
Impedance Amplitude /

far
25k
1,0k
Impedance Amplitude /

20k
800,0
15k

600,0
10k

400,0
5k

0 200,0

0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M

Frequency / Hz 200,0k 400,0k 600,0k 800,0k


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.1.16 Impedance amplitude as a function of sweep frequency for target with different thickness.

79
6 Results and discussion

6.2 Temperature influence on the sensor impedance


In this section, thermal coefficient of resistance of the sensor coil and other
temperature influences on properties of the sensor are obtained. Further more, the
feasibility of the sensor working at high temperature up to 600 oC is evaluated.

6.2.1 Thermal coefficient of resistance of the sensor coil


Based on the measured temperature dependent resistance values at different
frequencies, we are able to calculate values of frequency dependent coefficient
according to Equation (5.3).

140

120
Resistance /

100

80

60

40

0 100 200 300 400 500 600


o
Temperature / C

Figure 6.2.1 DC resistance of square sensor at different temperature.

Figure 6.2.1 shows a linear temperature (T) dependent DC Resistance (R) following a

relationship of R= 39.514 + 0.168 T. The slope equals to dR/dT and resistance at

o
20 C equals to 42.88 . Deducing from Equation (5.2), the DC temperature
coefficient of resistance is:

dR 1
= = 0.00391( 1 )
dT Rs

Using the same principle, temperature coefficient of resistance at 50 Hz follows the



relation R=74.72394+0.3104 T, which is shown in Figure 6.2.2. Hence, it is (at

-1
50 Hz) = 0.00384 K .

80
6.2 Temperature influence on the sensor impedance

260

240
Rectangle sensor

220

200

Resistance(50Hz) /
180

160

140

120

100

80

60
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
o
Temperature / C

Figure 6.2.2 Resistance of the rectangular sensor at different temperatures at 50 Hz.

The conductor of sensor coil is made of silver. Silvers temperature coefficient of


resistance at DC is 0.0038 K-1. Comparing this standard value with our measured
value, we reach the conclusion that the change of DC or low frequency resistance of
the sensor coil are mainly due to the temperature dependent resistance change of the
conductor material (silver), but has no relationship with its structure.

6.2.2 Temperature influence on the impedance of the sensor


In this section, the sensors are tested in two ovens in succession. The first oven can
reach a maximum temperature of 300 oC. Thus, the soldering with lead alloy that is
able to sustain temperature over 350 oC was used for the interconnection between
sensor and lead. In this condition, we expect that the temperature disturbance to this
kind of interconnection is relatively smaller than that to the mechanical contacting
connection used for the sensor worked in the other oven with maximum temperature
of 600 oC. The sweeping frequency measurements of impedance were carried out to
evaluate whether the eddy current sensor of LTCC can work properly at high
temperature or not. Therefore, the properties of impedance of sensor at a high
temperature up to 600 oC were tested and compared with those obtained at room
temperature in order to elucidate whether the designed LTCC eddy current sensor
can also be applied at high temperatures or not. We have carried out this comparison
by considering two aspects. One is the absolute value of resistance and inductance of
the sensor, and the other one is the change rate and tendency of them. According to
this experiment, the testing principle of the eddy current sensor and the optimal
working frequency and testing signal for high temperatures are further identified.

6.2.2.1 Influence of temperature on the resistance of the sensor


First, we evaluate the temperature influence on the resistance of the sensor at
different frequencies when it was put in a heating oven with maximum temperature

81
6 Results and discussion

of 300 oC. The working frequency range up to 1.5 MHz is focused on. The results are
shown in Figure 6.2.3. According to this figure we have learned that the resistance of
the sensor increases not only with frequency but also with temperature. The change
of resistance due to temperature increases with the frequency increase. It is evident
from Figure 6.2.4 that at low frequencies the temperature dependent resistance
change is linear. At 1 MHz, there is only a small derivation from the linearity, and
above this frequency, the linearity becomes worse quickly.

600
Only sensor
10000 o
23 C
o
500 50 C
5000 o
100 C
o
150 C
0 o
200 C
400 o
250 C
Resistance /

-5000
Resistance /

o
300 C
-10000
300

-15000

-20000 200

-25000

0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M
100
Frequency / Hz

0
0,0 500,0k 1,0M 1,5M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.3 The resistance of the rectangular sensor without target at different frequencies and its detail
figure until 1.5 MHz at 7 different temperatures from 23 to 300oC.

1100
10Hz
1000 1kHz
900 100kHz
464kHzMHz
800 1MHz
1.5MHz
700
600
Resistance /

500

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
0 100 200 300
o
Temperature / C

Figure 6.2.4 The relation between resistance of the sensor without target and temperature at different
frequencies.

In succession, a blade with a thickness of 0.5 mm in an aluminium rotor was put in


the oven, too. The clearance between the tip of the blade and the sensor was about

82
6.2 Temperature influence on the sensor impedance

1.5 mm. Both the resistance of sensor with target from room temperature to 150 oC
and the reference resistance of sensor without target (in Figure 6.2.3) were shown in
Figure 6.2.5. From this figure, it can be concluded that the resistance of the sensor
with the target is also increased with temperature increasing, but the values are not
the same as those without a target. The converting frequency for change tendency
still exists. Below this frequency, the resistance values with target are always bigger
than those without a target, but above this frequency, the change tendency is changed
and the resistance of sensor is smaller than those without target. With the increase of
the temperature, the converting frequency decreases.

400

Only sensor
o
23 C
300 o
50 C
o
100 C
Resistance /

o
150 C
o
200 C
o
250 C
200 o
300 C
near blade
o
23 C
o
50 C
o
100 C
100 o
150 C

0,0 500,0k 1,0M 1,5M


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.5 The resistance of a sensor with an aluminium target blade from room temperature to 150 oC
and the resistance of a sensor without target from room temperature to 300 oC. Tested as reference value in
the Binder oven with maximum temperature 300 oC.

As for the testing results from the oven with higher maximum temperature (shown in
Figure 6.2.6), the same phenomena can be found. The resistance increases with the
increase of temperature regardless if there is a target or not. But the relationship
between the resistance of the sensor with target and the one without target is not so
clear. We consider that this is due to the interconnection between sensor and wire
being the mechanical contact. In the oven with high temperature, the movement of
wire due to active fan of airflow in the oven influences the contact resistance and
causes the instability of measuring value of the resistance of the sensor. However,
according to the results, it is evident that the sensor can work properly at high
temperatures because the obtained resistance values are within the error limit during
in situ high temperature measurements and are exactly the same when retested at
room temperature after a high temperature experiment. The appearance and the
initial impedance of the sensor are the same as those before suffered high

83
6 Results and discussion

temperature. What we must be very careful is the packaging of sensor and testing
environments when considering the resistance of the sensor at high temperature.

900
Only sensor
o
200 C
800 o
300 C
o
400 C
700 o
500 C
near blade
600 o
200 C
Resistance /

o
300 C
500 o
400 C
o
500 C
400

300

200

100

500,0k 1,0M 1,5M


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.6 The resistance of a sensor with an aluminium target blade from 200 to 500 oC and the
resistance of a sensor without target in same temperature range. Both were tested in the oven with
maximum temperature 600 oC.

6.2.2.2 Influence of temperature on the inductance of the sensor


The inductances at different temperatures were measured at the same time as the
measuring of the resistance of the sensor. The measurement conditions were the
same as described in the last section. Figure 6.2.7 showed that the inductance of
sensor suffers from far smaller influences from temperature than the resistance does
although it also increases with the increase of temperature. Below 500 kHz, the
changes of the inductance are less than 0.3%. As for the whole working frequency
range, the change rate of inductance increases with the increase of frequency, but the
change rate of inductance is far smaller than that of the resistance.

Like in the last section, the inductances of sensor in two ovens individually were
measured when one aluminium blade was near the sensor. According to the results
(Figure 6.2.8 and Figure 6.2.9), it is clear that the inductances of the sensor at
different temperatures decrease when a metal blade approaches the sensor. This
change of inductance is very similar to that at room temperature. Observing the data
tested in the oven with lower maximum temperature (Figure 6.2.8), the inductance of
sensor with target changes scarcely with temperature increasing when exciting
frequency was below 1 MHz. Even in the oven with higher temperatures (Figure
6.2.9), the change of inductance with temperature increasing is still very small. The
inductance of the sensor with the target below 1 MHz decreases with temperature

84
6.2 Temperature influence on the sensor impedance

increasing. When frequency increases, the inductance increases with the temperature
increase gradually.

2,5k
Only sensor
o
23 C
o
50 C
2,0k o
100 C
o
150 C
1,5k o
200 C
Inductance / H

o
250 C
o
1,0k 300 C

500,0

0,0

-500,0

-1,0k
0 1M 2M 3M 4M 5M
Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.7 The inductance of the sensor itself at different frequency and at 7 different temperatures from
23 to 300oC

Only sensor
o
23 C
o
50 C
600 o
100 C
o
150 C
o
200 C
o
250 C
Inductance / H

o
300 C
near blade
o
24 C
400 o
50 C
o
100 C
o
150 C

200

500,0k 1,0M 1,5M


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.8 The inductance of a sensor with an aluminium target blade from room temperature to 150 oC
and the inductance of a sensor without target from room temperature to 300 oC. Tested as reference value
in Binder oven with maximum temperature of 300 oC below 1.5 MHz.

85
6 Results and discussion

700
o
sensor-200 C
o
sensor-300 C
o
600 sensor-350 C
o
sensor-400 C
o
sensor-500 C
500 o
Inductance / H

with rotor-200 C
o
with rotor-300 C
o
with rotor-400 C
400 o
with rotor-500 C

300

200

500,0k 1,0M 1,5M 2,0M


Frequency / Hz

Figure 6.2.9 The inductance of a sensor with an aluminium target blade from 200 to 500 oC and the
inductance of sensor without target in same temperature range. Both were tested in the oven with maximum
temperature 600 oC.

In summary, the influence of the environment temperature on the resistance of the


sensor is much more pronounced than that on the inductance of the sensor. As for the
resistance, the change tendency for the target keeps the same as that at room
temperature although the absolute value of resistance increases obviously with
temperature increasing. The converting frequency for change tendency still exists but
the value increases with temperature increasing. The influence of packaging and
environment such as airflow must be taken into account for measurement of the
resistance. As for the inductance of the sensor with and without target, both of its
absolute value and its change tendency didnt change so much with temperature
change. Especially when the exciting frequency is below 1 MHz, the change is very
small. Therefore, we can conclude that the LTCC eddy current sensor can work
properly at high temperature at least up to 600 oC because the measuring mechanism
of the eddy current sensor can be implemented properly. The inductance of the
sensor is a better testing signal than the resistance of the sensor for measurement at
high temperature environment. 1 MHz is optimal exciting frequency, namely, the
working frequency of sensor. At this frequency, the impedance amplitude can also be
chosen as testing signal because the change tendency of the resistance and the
inductance are the same and moreover the inductance of sensor plays a major role.

86
6.3 Real-time measurements

6.3 Real-time measurements


6.3.1 Response of the sensor to rotation of the rotor
The purpose of this experiment is to check whether the sensor can test rotating speed
of rotor or not. The experimental conditions are that the material of the rotor was
copper, the testing circuit was set in current function, and the clearance between the
tips of the rotor and the surface of the sensor was 1 mm. Firstly, ideal values of
frequency fideal of the rotating speed are calculated by Equation (6.1)

fideal= foutputnmaxNblades / fmax (min-1) = 8foutput (Hz) (6.1)


where
foutput: controlling frequency of converter (Hz) ;
Nblades: number of rotor blades (8 pieces);
nmax: rated maximum rotating speed (3000 rpm);
fmax: maximum controlling frequency for nmax (50 Hz).

(a)

(b)

Figure 6.3.1 The examples of waveform measured by the sensor. (a) when controlling frequency of
converter is 50 Hz; (b) when controlling frequency of converter is 20 Hz.

87
6 Results and discussion

The controlling frequencies of the converter were changed in 5 steps between 10 and
50 Hz. The corresponding waveforms (see Figure 6.3.1) display the testing signal of
the sensor with different number of peaks (Npeak) within the same recording time
(Trecord). Every negative peak corresponds to one blade. According to these
waveforms, we can calculate the frequency of the testing signal by Equation (6.2).

ftest =Npeak / Trecord (6.2)

Comparing two frequencies of the ideal value and the testing value, the ability of
sensors to test the rotating speed up to 3000 rpm can be evaluated. Table 6.2 shows
all the values of the rotating rotor and the testing results. One finds that the testing
signal can reflect the rotating speed of rotor exactly (see column 2 and column 6 in
this table). Therefore, the function of sensor to test rotating speed of rotors was
identified.

Table 6.2 Initial values of rotor and testing results using the sensor

Ideal values Testing results


Motor Blades Acquisition Number of Period Frequency
speed speed time (ms) Peaks between (Hz)
(rpm) (Hz) two peaks
(ms)
600 80 25 2 12.5 80
1200 160 25 4 6.25 160
1800 240 25 6 4.167 240
2400 240 25 8 3.125 240
3000 400 25 10 2.5 400

6.3.2 Influence of the clearance between sensor surface and tip of blades
In this section, the clearance between sensor surface and tip of blades was changed
from 1 to 5 mm with steps of 0.5 mm. The amplitude of peaks is the object we focus
on. As shown in Figure 6.3.2, the amplitude of the negative peak changes abruptly
with the clearance.

88
6.3 Real-time measurements

Apeak Amodul

(a)

(b)
Figure 6.3.2 The waveforms of test signals at different clearance. (a) when the clearance is 1.5 mm; (b)
when the clearance is 3.5 mm.

The sensitivity S of the sensor can be defined as:

S=100%|(Amodul-Apeak)|/ Amodul (6.3)

where the illustration of parameter can be found in Figure 6.3.2 (a):


Amodul is the amplitude of the modulation signal;
Apeak is the amplitude of the testing signal of the sensor for the target position.

89
6 Results and discussion

The testing results and sensitivities of the sensor are listed in Table 6.3.

Table 6.3 Testing results of a sensor with different clearance

Clearance Amplitude of Amplitude of Sensitivity of


(mm) modulation signal testing signal sensor
pk-pk(v) pk-pk(v) (%)
1.0 6.91 3.05 55.861
1.5 6.91 3.83 44.573
2.0 6.91 4.57 33.864
2.5 6.91 4.96 28.220
3.0 6.91 5.82 15.774
3.5 6.91 5.98 13.459
4.0 6.91 6.33 8.394
4.5 6.91 6.48 6.223
5.0 6.91 6.64 3.907

According to the results, the relation between the sensitivity of the sensor and the
clearance is shown in Figure 6.3.3. From this figure, some conclusions can be made.
The sensitivity decreases with the clearance. When the clearance is shorter than 2
mm, the change of sensitivity with the clearance is almost linear. Then with the
clearance increasing, the decrease of sensitivity slows down continuously and finally
the value of sensitivity tends to 0. Therefore, if we want to get higher and linear
sensitivity, the clearance should be set shorter than 2 mm.

0,7

0,6

0,5

0,4
sensitivity

0,3

0,2

0,1

0,0

0 1 2 3 4 5
distance / mm

Figure 6.3.3 Clearance dependency of the sensitivity of the sensor.

90
6.3 Real-time measurements

6.3.3 Measurement for the changes of blades geometry


First, a 0.3 mm copper strip was covered on the surface of one blade of the copper
rotor. This modification for the blade can be considered to increase the length of the
blade. In other words, the tip of this blade moved close to the sensor surface,
therefore the clearance between blade and sensor is shortened. According to the
results in last section, the amplitude of signal peaks for this modified blade should be
lower than the others and the peak will appear one time in the signal every 8 peaks.
The testing waveform (see Figure 6.3.4) shows this modification for one blade. The
amplitude of the one peak in the signal was changed, but the frequency is the same.

Figure 6.3.4 The test waveform of a sensor for the copper rotor with one longer blade.

Then, more changes were made in the blades of that aluminum rotor in order to
evaluate the sensor performance. Some parts of blades were taken away to make
blades shorter and thinner. At the same time an aluminum film with a thickness of
0.3 mm also was covered to one blade and this blade was considered as a reference
blade, because its amplitude of the peak in the measurement signal should be the
lowest like Figure 6.3.4. The modification details of all the blades illustrate in Figure
6.3.5, and all the blades will pass the sensor along the sequence from left to right.
The corresponding testing signal of the sensor is shown in Figure 6.3.6. Not only the
amplitude of the peak is changed, but also the arrival times of the peaks for the
thinner blades are changed. The lowest peak marked with a red circle corresponds to
the reference blade. In this waveform, 1,249,996 data points in 50 milliseconds with
410-8 second increment of x-axis were contained. These data will be the input to an
extra mathematical software such as MATLAB for analysis. What we are interested
in are the amplitude and the arrival time of every peak in the waveform. Then, we
can check whether the signal reflects every modification correctly, and thereby the
working ability of sensor can be evaluated.

91
6 Results and discussion

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

short long right thin short left thin


0.3mm 0.3mm 0.5mm 0.1mm 0.1mm

Figure 6.3.5 Details of the blade modifications of the aluminum rotor.

Figure 6.3.6 Test waveform of a sensor corresponding to the modification of the blades in Al rotor. The
peak marked by a cycle defines the signal for the longest blade.

The group of Systems Theory at IMTEK helps us to process the acquisition data of
the sensor. First, the acquisition data shown in Figure 6.3.7 are read in a programme
and the exact modulating frequency is obtain by FFT (Fast Fourier Transform). The
peak of the spectral power density appears at frequency 828.1 kHz. Then,
demodulation of waveform is done because the information what we are interested is
the peaks of signal. The complex Fourier coefficient of first grade for every 500
samples with modulating basic frequency are calculated and their average amplitudes
are obtained. The demodulation signal shown in Figure 6.3.8 is obtained by reploting
the average amplitudes. This demodulation method can release the noise which
different from the modulation frequency. Least square error fit is used to get the
coordinates of the 8 peaks. Figure 6.3.9 displays the figure with 8 peaks after the
smooth fit. The corresponding coordinates of 8 peaks are shown in Table 6.4.
According to these values, the peak intensity is defined as the reverse to the
voltage and is shown in Figure 6.3.10. Comparing these values to the real length
modification of blades shown in Figure 6.3.5, the right sequence of blades in the

92
6.3 Real-time measurements

order of numbers 7-8-1-2-3-4-5-6 corresponding to Fig. 6.3.5 is obtained. When the


length of a blade is longer than others, the clearance between the sensor and the blade
is shorter, therefore the electromagnetic interaction between them is stronger and
inductance of the sensor decreases more quickly. The corresponding peak intensity
is reverse to the original peak, therefore it is proportional to the length of blade. The
stronger the peak intensity is, the longer the baldes length is. In addition, when a
blade becomes narrow, that is, the surface of the blade becomes small, the inductance
of the sensor decreases very little. This kind of situation is like that the length of
blade becomes a little short but the influence is not so big. Based on this comparison,
we found that the testing signal reflects the modification of blade geometry. The
capability of the sensor to measure the clearance is identified.

Figure 6.3.7 The measured data of the sensor for changes of clearance between blade and sensor.

Table 6.4 The coordinate of 8 peaks of signal shown in Figure 6.3.9

No. of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
peak
T(s) 0.0041 0.0104 0.0167 0.0230 0.0292 0.0354 0.0417 0.0480
U(v) 1.5301 1.5407 1.5024 1.8569 1.3168 1.6154 1.4685 1.5392

93
6 Results and discussion

Figure 6.3.8 Demodulated signal displaying the information of 8 peaks.

Figure 6.3.9 The 8 peaks after square smooth fit.

94
6.3 Real-time measurements

Figure 6.3.10 Peak intensity of the signal compared to the length changes of blades above.

6.3.4 Influence of testing circuits


The testing signals have very close relation with the testing circuit. It can be applied
in two modes: in current function of the circuit, the impedance amplitude is chosen
as testing parameter, but in voltage function of the circuit, the inductance is the main
testing parameter. In this section the voltage function of circuit was adopted and
compared to the signal of current function.

Using voltage function, adjusting of exciting frequency is very important. Exciting


frequency must make the circuit composed of sensor and capacitor in resonant status.
Because the inductance of sensor is different when the blade is near the sensor or far
away from the sensor, different initial position of blade for the resonant status will
result in a different exciting frequencies and testing signal.

95
6 Results and discussion

Figure 6.3.11 Voltage waveform for the rotor with one longer blade. The resonant status exists in a position
where normal blade is near sensor surface.

Figure 6.3.12 Voltage waveform for the rotor with one shorter blade. The resonant status exists in a
position where normal blade is near sensor surface.

First, we place a normal blade without modification approximate to the sensor as


near as possible. In this position the exciting frequency was adjusted to make the
amplitude of modulation signal to be maximum. Then, two rotors with one longer
blade and one shorter blade respectively are measured with rotating speed of 1200
rpm. The testing signals of the sensor for the rotor rotation are shown in Figure
6.3.11 and Figure 6.3.12. The former is for the rotor with one longer blade, and the
latter is for the rotor with one shorter blade. The signals look very different with
signal tested by current function, because the position with minimum inductance was
set as the initial position with maximum voltage amplitude of testing signal.

96
6.3 Real-time measurements

Comparing the signals corresponding to the longer blade and the shorter blade in
both figures marked by the red circles, we find that not only the amplitude of peaks
but also the shape of them occurs to change. The reason for these changes can be
found in Figure 6.3.13. As for the long blade, the resonant inductance of the normal
blade is in point P1, but there are two points P2 and P3 with this inductance value for
longer blade. Therefore, in position of points P2 and P4 two peaks occur with the
same amplitude of the normal blades. Inversely, the inductance in position P4 is
different from that in P1, therefore in position P4 the amplitude is lower than the
maximum peak. With the same principle, if the inductance of P4 was chosen as
resonant inductance of normal blades, all the inductances of shorter blades are
different from the resonant inductance, and in position P1 the inductance is most near
the inductance in P4. Therefore, there is only one peak in position P1 for shorter
blade but the amplitude of the peak is lower than one of normal blades.

Shorter blade
Inductance

P2 P1 P3
P4

Longer blade
Horizontal distance

Figure 6.3.13 Illustration of the inductance and position of peaks in testing signal.

Next, the resonant position was changed. In positions where the normal blade
without modification is far away from the sensor, the sensor circuit is set to be
resonant status by adjusting the exciting frequency. The corresponding signal for the
rotor with a longer blade is shown in Figure 6.3.14. The shape of signal here is very
similar to that using current function of the circuit because both functions choose the
position with maximum inductance as the position where the amplitude of testing
signal is highest, whereas the difference between two testing functions must be made
clear. The testing signal of the sensor with current function of circuit is
corresponding to the real value of inductance of sensor, while the testing signal with
voltage function of circuit is corresponding to not real value of inductance of sensor
but the value relative to resonant inductance.

97
6 Results and discussion

Figure 6.3.14 Voltage waveform for the rotor with one longer blade. The resonant status exists in a position
where normal blade is far away the sensor surface.

To summarise this chapter, all the testing signals whether using current function or
voltage function can correspond to the displacement and to the change of structure of
blades in rotors rightly, hence the feasibility to monitor the movements of blades in
rotors was identified by practical on-line measurements.

98
7 Conclusions and prospects

7.1 Summary and conclusions


It is indispensable to improve the lifetime and performance of conventional
displacement sensors and to transform these sensors to match the requirements of
engine health monitoring such as a blade tip sensing systems in turbo-machinery.

In this work, first literature and information were collected and compared. An eddy
current displacement sensor using the novel LTCC technology was found to match
the related measurement conditions such as harsh and high temperature environments,
non-magnetic metal blades, etc. Then, according to the structure of the LTCC sensor
coil, a set of analytic calculating methods based on fundamental equations of the
inductance and the capacitance between two simple thin strips was built. The
inductance, resistance, capacitance, quality factor, self-resonant frequency of a
complete sensor coil and standard skin depth of eddy current in target blade were
considered. Subsequently, the FEM method was used for further calculations. It was
found via modal analysis that the position over the sharp end of a blade tip is the
optimal mounting position for a sensor. Electromagnetic analysis showed that the
sensitivity of the sensor inductance has one principal influence factor, which is the
outer size of the sensor coil. Effects on the resistance of the sensor and on the quality
factor concerning changes of layers, turns and fill factor were also investigated. In
addition, the 3D eddy current distribution and the relations between the impedance of
the sensor and the blade displacement in horizontal and vertical directions were
obtained. Finally, a complete optimization work flow was proposed based on the
methods and conclusions of analytic and FEM analysis as well as LTCC fabrication
guideline. The layout was designed for the sensor variation with the optimal
parameters, and it was realized by LTCC fabrication. Eight sensors were obtained for
further experimental testing.

With respect to experimental work, the characteristics of the sensors were measured
by LCR meter and impedance analyzer. These testing results were used to check the
results of the FEM simulation and analytic calculation. Temperature dependent
experiments were carried out to identify the feasibility of the LTCC sensor at high
temperature using the eddy current operating mechanism. Finally, a complete
displacement sensor system composed of a motor, a rotor with blades, a testing
circuit, a data acquisition system, a computer control and signal processing system
were built to simulate a blade tip measurement system. The recording rate was up to
24000 blades per minute. The clearance between sensor and blade tip, and the blade

99
7 Conclusions and prospects

change of geometry were measured and proven to reflect the corresponding


information correctly.

All the results identified that the comprehensive optimization method combined with
analytic analysis and FEM simulation is an effective design approach to LTCC
planar sensor. FEM simulation comprises modal, electromagnetic and thermal-
mechanical analysis. In addition, our LTCC eddy current sensor shows good
properties for high temperature environments up to 500 oC and high-speed
measurements up to 3000 rpm (24000 bpm). Its feasibility to work for
turbomachinery in harsh and high temperature environments was verified under
laboratory conditions.

7.2 Outlook
With respect to further work on the testing system there still exist some aspects to be
improved and developed.

First, the size of the sensor can be further reduced and its properties can be improved
by means of the stronger LTCC fabrication capability from foundries. For the testing
object, the rotor can be improved so that it can provide more complicated
displacements of the blades. The measurement capability of the sensor for various
movements can be further identified. The improvement also can be conducted for the
testing environment. The testing system including rotating blades and the sensor can
be put into an oven to identify the feasibility of the sensor at high temperature via
dynamic displacement measurements.

Second, with respect to the testing circuit, a PLL function can be included. This
function will be able to keep the resonant status of the sensor circuit by changing the
exciting frequency of the voltage source. The signal from the frequency changes of
the PLL circuit indicates the inductance changes of the sensor. The signal from the
voltage of the sensor gives the information on the resistance of the sensor.

Third, with respect to the signal processing, online data processing can be
implemented. A smart control system is able to solve possible problems according to
online signal analysis. This will make the system intelligent and it can become a real
health diagnosing monitor.

In addition, LTCC packaging can also be applied to other similar sensors which
exhibit a coil as a main component. This kind of sensor is also used for high
temperature environments, for example, a microwave with a single layer of coil. In
fact, our heat-resistant sensor applies not only to tip timing measurements of

100
7.2 Outlook

turbomachinery, but also to the entire field of measuring displacement, proximity etc.
at high temperatures.

101
Zusammenfassung
Zur berwachung der Rotorschaufeln in Turbomaschinen sind berhrungsfrei
arbeitende Sensoren notwendig. Obwohl die von herkmmlichen Abstandssensoren
bekannten Prinzipien grundstzlich genutzt werden knnen, ist es notwendig, diese
Sensoren insbesondere den Anforderungen des Hochtemperaturbetriebs anzupassen
und die Robustheit und Lebensdauer signifikant zu verbessern. Ziel dieser Arbeit war
der Entwurf und die Realisierung eines Sensorkonzepts, um statische und
dynamische Geometrieabweichungen von Turbinenschaufeln im Betrieb auch bei
nichtmagnetischen Werkstoffen zu detektieren.

In der vorliegenden Arbeit wurde zunchst eine Literaturrecherche zu geeigneten


Sensorprinzipien und Aufbauformen durchgefhrt und ausgewertet. Basierend
hierauf wurde das Prinzip des Wirbelstrom-Abstandssensors ausgewhlt. Um
Einsatzrandbedingungen wie aggressive Atmosphre und Hochtemperaturumgebung
sowie nichtmagnetische Schaufelbltter aus Metall zu erfllen, wurde die Umsetzung
mit Hilfe der Low Temperature Cofired Ceramics Technologie (LTCC) weiter
untersucht.

Sequenziell wurde zunchst die Finite-Elemente-Methode benutzt, um verschiedene


Berechnungen und Optimierungen bei der Auslegung durchzufhren. In der
Modalanalyse wurde ermittelt, dass radial ber dem spitzen Ende der Schaufel die
optimale Position zum Anbringen des Sensors liegt. Aus elektromagnetischen
Analysen konnte der Rckschluss gezogen werden, dass die Empfindlichkeit der
Sensorinduktivitt einen dominanten Einfluss auf die uere Gre der Sensorspule
hat. Entsprechend den Strukturen der LTCC Sensorspulen wurde eine Serie
analytischer Berechnungen, basierend auf den Grundgleichungen fr Induktivitt L
und Kapazitt C zwischen zwei einfachen dnnen Streifen aufgestellt. Induktivitt L,
Widerstand R, Kapazitt C, Qualittsfaktor Q und Resonanzfrequenz einer
Sensorspule sowie die Skintiefe des Stroms in der Zielschaufel wurden betrachtet.
Die Einflsse durch nderung von Schichten, Umdrehungsraten und Fllfaktoren
auf den Widerstand des Sensors und den Qualittsfaktor wurden ebenfalls untersucht.
Zustzlich wurden die dreidimensionale Wirbelstromverteilung und die Relationen
zwischen Widerstand des Sensors und Blattversetzung in horizontaler und vertikaler
Richtung erhalten. Letztlich wurde auf Grundlage dieser Methoden, bestehend aus
analytischer Berechnung, FEM-Analyse und LTCC-Herstellungsrichtlinien ein
kompletter Entwurfs- und Optimierungsprozess vorgeschlagen. Eine Variante des
Sensors wurde gem den optimalen Parametern entworfen und durch Herstellung
eines LTCC realisiert. Hierdurch wurden die Sensoren fr die weiteren Experimente
erhalten.

103
In Bezug auf die experimentellen Arbeit wurden die Eigenschaften des Sensors
durch ein LCR-Meter und ein Widerstandsmessgert bestimmt. Diese Testergebnisse
wurden auch dazu benutzt, die Ergebnisse der FEM-Simulationen und der
Berechnungen qualitativ und quantitativ zu berprfen. Dabei ergab sich, dass die
wesentlichen Effekte und Abhngigkeiten richtig prognostiziert wurden.
Temperaturexperimente wurden durchgefhrt, um festzustellen, ob der LTCC Sensor
auch bei hohen Temperaturen und Hochfrequenzwirbelstrom funktioniert. Dies
konnte bis zu Temperaturen von 500 C besttigt werden. Schlielich wurde ein
komplettes dynamisches Abstandsmesssystem bestehend aus Motor, Rotor mit
Schaufeln, Prfstromkreis, Datenerfassung, Computersteuerung und Signalprozessor
aufgebaut, um den Einsatz in einer Turbine nachzubilden. Dabei wurden Parameter
wie die Frequenz der Rotorbltter, bis zu 24000 Bltter min-1, der Abstand zwischen
Sensor und Spitze des Rotorblattes und die Blattgeometrie systematisch untersucht,
um das Testsystem zu charakterisieren.

Alle Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die umfassende Optimierungsmethode bestehend aus


FEM-Simulation inklusive Modalanalyse, elektromagnetischer und
thermomechanischer Analyse ein effektiver Weg zum Entwickeln von planaren
LTCC Sensoren ist. Zustzlich zeigt der hier entwickelte LTCC Wirbelstromsensor
gute Eigenschaften bei hohen Temperaturen bis 600C und hohen Drehzahlen bis
3000 upm (24000 Bltter min-1). Die Mglichkeit zum Einsatz in Turbomaschinen in
rauen Einsatzgebieten und Hochtemperaturumgebungen wurden damit in
Laborexperimenten gezeigt.

104
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108
Abbreviations and symbols
C Capacitance [pF]
E Youngs modulus [MPa]
I Current [A]
L Inductance [mH]
L0 Unloaded inductance of the sensor coil [mH]
Ls Loaded inductance of coil [mH]
Lself Self-inductance between two strips [mH]
M Mutual inductance between two strips [mH]
Q Quality factor
Q0 Unloaded quality factor of coil
R Resistance []
R0 Unloaded resistance of coil []
Rs Loaded resistance of coil []
V Voltage [v]
Y Admittance [Siemens]
Z Impedance []

f Frequency [Hz]
t Turns
x Displacement [mm]

Skin depth [m]


Dielectric constant [F/m]
Strain
0 Dielectric constant of free space [F/m]
r Relative dielectric constant
Permeability [H/m]
0 Permeability of free space [H/m]
r Relative permeability
Resistivity [m]
Conductivity [S/m]
Stress [MPa]
0.2 0.2% offset yield stress [MPa]
u Ultimate tensile stress [MPa]
Radian frequency [radians/s]

Geometry:
h Height of coil [mm]
l Length of blade tip [mm]
li Inner length of racetrack coil [mm]

109
lo Outer length of racetrack coil [mm]
ri Inner radius of coil(2D FEM) [mm]
ro Outer radius of coil(2D FEM) [mm]
wi Inner width of racetrack coil [mm]
wo Outer width of racetrack coil [mm]

Abbreviations:
EM, Emag Electromagnetic field
FEM Finite elements method
HTCC High temperature cofired ceramic
LTCC Low temperature cofired ceramic
SRF Self-resonant frequency of coil
TCE Temperature coefficient of expansion [K-1]

110
Acknowledgement
I would like to thank all persons who have helped me on this work. My special
thanks are due to

Prof. Dr. Jrgen Wilde for providing me the opportunity to work in IMTEK and on
this interesting topic, being my first supervisor, showing me the research method and
giving me many helps whenever I need.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ament for not only being my second supervisor, but also for his
kind helps in signal analysis and correcting the English of my dissertation with much
patience and time.

Mrs. Christine Jgle for her kind helps in many aspects including both my private
and the academic matters.

All my colleagues in the group of AVT, Mrs. Elena Zukowski, Mr. Erik Deier, Mr.
Sebastian Fischer, Mr. Daniel Arnold and Mr. David Pustan, for the friendly working
atmosphere and all kinds of helps for my work and life.

Mr. Vassil Jankov for helps in circuit design and fabrication, and paying some time
to adjust the electronic system for the experiments.

Mr. Peter Wissmann and Mr. Benjamin Rutschinski for helps in mechanical
fabrications of the testing system and other mechanical parts.

Dr. Zhenyu Liu for discussions on the simulation method and friendship between his
family and me.

Group members of Electrical Instrumentation for their supports on the key electronic
instruments used in this work.

Dr. Druee for the LTCC fabrication of the sensors and the helpful discussions on the
layout design of LTCC.

Finally, I express my thanks to my family and especially to my husband, Yongfeng


Men. His encouragements and supports are always my most important motivation in
my life and work even if when he lived in another city for two years.
Curriculum Vitae
YuQing Lai

Born: 18.Sept 1973; Sex: Female ; Status: Married

(September 1991 ---- July 1995)


Physics department, SouthEast University, Nanjing China
Major: Applied Physics; Subsidiary subject: Wireless Engineering
Bachelors degree was awarded in June 1995

(July 1995 ---- September 1997)


Microelectronics lab, Institute of electronic engineering, Academy of engineering
physics of China (CAEP), Mianyang, China
Worked as an assistant engineer

(September 1997 ----March 2000)


Institute of high energy electronics, University of electronic science and
technology of China (UESTC) , Chengdu China
Major: Microwave Electronics
Masters Degree was awarded in April 2000

(April 2000 ---- October 2000)


Sprachenkolleg, Freiburg Germany
German learning

(December 2000 ---- March 2001)


Laboratory for assembly and packaging, Institute of Microsystem Technology
(IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Freiburg i. Brsg. Germany
Worked as an assistant

(March 2001 ----present)


Laboratory for assembly and packaging, Institute of Microsystem Technology
(IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Freiburg i. Brsg. Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. J.Wilde
Dissertation: Eddy current displacement sensor with LTCC technology