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Avery 1

LVDTs and Natural Frequency
Avery Cornell
Abstract— This report is comprised of a two week lab that consisted of the use of LVDT’s and the application of a strain gage to measure the natural frequency of a beam. The LDVTs (linear variable differential transformers) were used in the first week of experimentation. The values collected were used as a calibration tool for the following week. For the second week, students used the instrumented cantilever beam that was provided to find out the different frequencies of applied loads. Using LabView, students collected the voltage readings and compiled the resulting data. Index Terms— Fourier transforms, LVDT, Micrometer, Modulus of Elasticity II. PROCEDURE The lab procedure was split up into two separate processes. For the first week, students were instructed to create a vi that measured voltage vs. time as shown in Fig. 1. Next, students had to connect the USB-6009 to the LVDT and their laptops, turn on the power supply, and set the LVDT to 12 Volts.



HE following report uses LDVT’s and frequencies to calculate the modulus of elasticity of a material. A LDVT or a linear variable differential transformer is a device that creates a voltage reading from the displacement of a material caused by a force. Using three separate coils (one primary, and two secondary) the change in the positioning of the core causes one coil to decrease while the others increase [1]. This causes a reading of the change in displacement as an electrical current [1]. Frequency is the “number of waves that pass a fixed place in a given amount of time” [2]. Measured in hertz, frequency is applied in various types of fields. For example, the light ray spectrum is based off the frequency of the different wavelengths that determine the color scale. For this experiment, frequency is used to find the specific modulus of elasticity.

Fig. 1 Initial vi for week 1 After this, students were instructed to check the core of the LVDT to see if changes were registered when the core moved up and down. Once the core showed proper readings, students had to place a 200 g weight onto the center, fixate the core on top of the weight, and take a reading using the vi. Next, students added 50 g weight on top of 200 g weight and take another reading. Students had to repeat this process using a 100 g and a 200 g weight on top of 200 g weight. After all the readings were taken the thickness of the 200, 100, and 50 g weights were measured using the micrometer. Then, students had to place the measurements into a voltage vs. thickness graph and check linearity. Next, students had to remove all the weights, measure the cantilever beam, and place it into the cantilever support. Then, they had to connect the beam to the core and measure the distance between the core and the support. Once this was completed, students took a reading of the beam with no weight, then add a 50 g weight, take another reading. Students repeated this using a 100 g, 200 g, and 400 g (two 200 g stacked on each other) weight. After this, students had to remove all the weight and take another reading of the beam with no weight. Finally, students had to measure the distance between the ‘centered tic marks’ of the strain gage to the core of the LVDT.

Avery 2 initial displacement of the beam which can also be done by taking the difference in the initial voltage reading and the voltage reading once a force is applied. In comparison, the theoretical value is derived from Equation 2.

Fig. 2 Core of the LVDT [4] For the second week students had to create two vis (Fig 3 & Fig 4) and combine them. Next, students had to connect the USB-6009, the EMBSG8200 V1.2 amplifier, the LVDT, and their laptops. After that, students had to place the cantilever beam into the support, fasten it, and test the combined vi by plucking the beam. Then students had to determine the dimensions and frequency of the beam. Lastly, students had to take the strain readings of the beam with a 50 g, 100 g, and 200 g weight (individually).

Fig. 5 Line used to find calibration (1) (2)

Fig. 6 Shows terms of Equation 2 Using the Equation 1 & 2, Table 1 is formed: Avg Calc. Theo. Weigt Voltage Def. Def. h (g) (V) (in) (in) 0 (Initial ) 0.04618 0 0 50 -0.3727 0.04607 0.04377 100 -0.7647 0.08917 0.08754 200 -1.630 0.1843 0.1751 400 -3.233 0.3606 0.3501 0 0.037641 (Final) 1 0.00094 0 Table 1 The deflection of the applied weights

Percnt Err. (%) 0 5.255 1.862 5.254 2.999 0

Fig. 3 Pt.1 of the vi for week 2

For the uncertainty, Equation 3 was derived by plugging in Equation 1 and the standard deviation for giving the value inches. Fig. 4 Second vi that when placed together measures voltage as a function of time III. RESULTS For the first week of experimentation Fig 5 was made from the collected data of the weights. The equation in the figure gives the calibration factor. To apply the non – zero factor, take the initial voltage reading of the beam and plug it into the equation. Subtracting that value from the initial equation, Equation 1 is formed. This is used as a way to zero out the To find the strain, Equation 4, 5, & 6 are used. By substituting in the variables Equation 7 is produced. (4) (5) (6) (7) (3)

Avery 3 Where is the length from the strain gage to the end of the beam, and are the length of the beam and the max deflection respectively. Using this equation for the deflections of 50, 100, and 200 g Table 2 is constructed. Weight (g) Strain 1.08342E50 05 100 2.097E-05 4.33417E200 05 Table 2 The calculate values of the strain The second week of the experiment students were tasked with the natural frequency of the beam. Using the data collected, the initial frequencies were found for each weight (as shown in Table 3). The theoretical value for the initial value beam (beam with no load) is derived from Equation 8. (8) (9) Where = 1.875, L is the length of the beam and m is the unit mass per length. Plugging in the values for into Equation 8 the final value for the frequency comes out to 15.82. Next, students had to calculate the modulus of elasticity. Using Equation 9 the value comes out to 285 GPa. Weight Exper. Freq. Meas. Freq. (g) (Hz) (Hz) 0 18.87 15.33 50 12.66 11.00 100 9.009 7.999 200 7.246 5.332 Table 3 Measured frequencies IV. DISCUSSION Overall the actual data collecting was simple and easy. The biggest difficulty was the calculation of the values. For the calibration of the cantilever beam, one issue was the weight of the beam itself. After working through the calculations, the value of the beam becomes negligible when measuring the difference in the voltage recordings, or by using the non-zero factor. For the frequencies, the experimental equation came out 3 Hz higher then both the measured and theoretical values. This could be due to the fact that the acquisition time is set at such a high number and external interference. Because the error in the frequency, the value the Modulus of Elasticity came out to over 80 GPa more than the actual value. The error compounds in Equation 9 because the frequency is raised to the second power. From Equation 8, the relationship between the weight applied to the beam and the frequency is shown to be inversely proportional. As the weight increases the value of the frequency decreases as shown in Table 3. Compounding on Table 2, Table 4 also shows the values for the strain found from the vi. The strains for 50 g and 200 g have opposite results while 100 g shows a big percent error. Exp. Strain Mea. Strain 1.08342E50 05 4.93E-05 100 2.097E-05 8.73E-05 4.33417E200 05 1.35E-05 Table 4 Strain table including estimated values V. CONCLUSION For this report, students were made to understand how to use a LVDT to find deflection. In turn, this was used to find a slew of other components including frequency and strain. The uncertainties for both components were negligible because of the small values. Barring any external forces, the values came out relatively clean. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3]
(2012, Apr., 04 ). How it works [Online] Available: (2012, Apr., 04th). What is frequency? [Online] Available: (2012, Apr., 05th). BEAM DEFLECTION FORMULAE: [Online] Available: on_Formulae.pdf S. Ridgeway. (2012, Apr.). Title: EML 3301C – Mechanics of Materials Laboratory, Lab no. 4a, Spring 2012:Measuring Beam Deflections with an LVDT [PDF] 1, 5. Avaible: S. Ridgeway. (2012, Apr.). Title: EML 3301C – Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Lab no. 4b, Spring 2012 : Measuring the Natural Frequency of a Cantilever Beam [PDF] 1, 5. Avaible:

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