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# Transducers

ME 3251
Thermal Fluid Systems

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Transducers
• Transform values of physical variables into
equivalent electrical signals
• Converts a signal from one form to
another form

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Types of Transducers
• Variable-Resistance • Photovoltaic Transducer
Transducer • Ionization Transducer
• Differential Transformer • Magnetometer Search
(LVDT) Coil
• Capacitive Transducer • Hall-Effect Transducer
• Piezoelectric Transducer • Digital Displacement
• Photoelectric Transducer Transducer
• Photoconductive
Transducer

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Variable-Resistance Transducer
• Resistance Potentiometer, rheostat
• Converts linear or angular displacement into an electric
signal
• Can be used to convert force and pressure to a
displacement through mechanical methods
• Moving contact on a slide-wire or moving contact that
moves through an angular displacement on a solid
conductor (e.g. graphite)
• Fairly cheap – some can be expensive, though

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Differential Transformer (LVDT)
• Coverts displacement into electric signal
• Three coils placed in a linear relationship with a magnetic core free
to move inside the coils
• Alternating input voltage impressed in center coil, and output voltage
from two end coils depends on magnetic coupling between the core
and coils
• The coupling is dependent on the position of the core
• If the core remains near the center of the coils the output is very
nearly linear.
• Most differential transformers are only operated in this linear range,
and these are called linear variable differential transducers (LVDT)

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LVDT Continued

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Capacitive Transducer
• Measures a change in capacitance through a change in distance between 2 plates, d
• Measures capacitance change through a change in overlapping area, A, resulting
from plate movement or a change in dielectric constant, ε
A
C = 0.225 ⋅ ε ⋅
2
• 0.225 is in 2 use 0.0885 for cm
d
ε = 1 for air
ε = 1 for plastics

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Capacitive Transducer cont.
• For liquid level measurements two electrodes are placed in the
liquid, and the dielectric constant varies between them according to
the liquid level
• Thus, capacitance between electrodes is a direct indication of liquid
level

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Piezoelectric Transducer
• A force applied to a piezoelectric crystal
between two electrodes produces a stress
and corresponding deformation in the
crystal
• Deformation produces potential difference
at crystal surface
• The stress on the crystal produces an
output voltage:
E = gtp

## where t is crystal thickness in m

p is impressed force in N
m2

g is voltage sensitivity d
g=
ε
• Piezoelectric crystals used as pressure
transducers for dynamic measurements

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Photoelectric Transducer
• Converts a light beam into a usable electric signal
• Light strikes cathode and releases electrons
• Electrons are attracted toward anode, thereby producing an electric
current in external circuit
• Cathode and anode enclosed in glass or quartz, which is evacuated
or filled with inert gas
• Photoelectric tubes useful for measuring light intensity

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Photoconductive Transducers
• Voltage impressed on semiconductor material
• Light strikes semiconductor material and a decrease in
resistance occurs, thereby producing an increase in
current
• Useful for measurement of radiation at all wavelengths

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Photovoltaic Transducers
• Sandwich design of a metal base plate and a thin
transparent metallic layer with a semiconductor material
in between
• Light strikes barrier between transparent metal layer and
semiconductor material, and a voltage is generated
• Most widely used application of photovoltaic cell is the
light exposure meter in photographic work

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Ionization Transducer
• Converts displacement to a voltage through a
capacitance change
• As tube moves horizontally between the two plates, a dc
potential difference is created between electrodes 1 and
2

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Magnetometer Search Coil
• Transforms a magnetic
field signal into a voltage
• A flat coil with a
specified number of
turns is placed in a
magnetic field, and a
voltage is generated
magnetic field, the
search coil must be
moving. Typically a
rotating coil is used in
this situation.

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Hall-Effect Transducers
• An external current passes
through a semiconductor
plate.
• When a magnetic field is
impressed on a plate in a
direction perpendicular to
the plate surface, a voltage
is generated
• This voltage is the Hall
voltage
• E = K ⋅ IB
H H
t
where K H is the Hall
coefficient

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Digital Displacement Transducers
• Used to measure angular and linear displacements
• For an angular measurement, a wheel rotates and light is alternately
transmitted and stopped through small cutouts
• The signal is sent to the photodetector, amplified, then sent to a
counter.
• The number of counts is proportional to angular displacement.
• Sensitivity can be improved by increasing the number of cutouts

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Digital Displacement Transducers
• For a linear measurement, small reflecting strips are
installed on a motion device.
• Light is then alternately reflected and absorbed with
linear motion presenting a signal to the photodetector
• Calibration with a known displacement standard must be
performed

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