When to Choose a Damped or Undamped Sensor

When To Choose A Damped Or Undamped Sensor

Should this sensor be damped or not? When you’re going through the process of finding the perfect sensor for your project, damping is definitely a factor to consider. Damping is a modification that decreases a sensor’s bandwidth in order to reduce its sensitivity. That means you can get accurate tilt or motion readings without the interference of the vibration occurring within your project.

Damping A Forced Balance Sensor

First, let’s explore how this process is conducted. A force balanced sensor measures tilt and motion using a pendulum and a servo motor. This pendulum can be tightened which will prevent it from swaying back and forth too much. By doing so, those squiggly lines on your data logger will settle down in order to give you an honest reading.

Damping A Geo Tiltmeter

A geotechnical/geophysical tiltmeter uses conductive fluid within a vial to judge tilt much like a carpenter’s level. The fluid’s viscosity can be altered so that it won’t slosh back and forth repeatedly after the sensor experiences a force, leaving you with a decisive reading.

When to Damp

Whether or not you want that kind of sensitivity will depend on your project. If there will be noise and vibration surrounding your sensor that has nothing to with what you want to measure, you will want to damp that sensor. In geotechnical cases such as bridge monitoring, you won’t want the roar of traffic to dictate the way you measure sag and sway. If you’ve got a damped sensor, you can rest assured that your measurements will go uninterrupted.

When Not To Damp

When it comes to vibration testing, you won’t want to reduce your bandwidth. Some forced balance and MEMS accelerometers are useful for such applications since they are sensitive enough to pick up subtle movements. You can use this to your advantage for instances such as detecting how smooth your ride will be when a train passes over a freshly laid set of tracks or judging how much turbulence an airplane will undergo.

Almost every sensor from Jewell Instruments can be customized and damped in order to suit your specific requirements. Still not sure what kind of sensitivity you need for your project? Talk to us today and we will construct the ideal sensor for you.

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