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Sensor technology

  • Author:Helen Li
  • Release on:2016-06-29

Sensor technology    

A sensor is a device which produces a signal in response to its detecting or    measuring a property ,such as position , force , torque , pressure , temperature ,humidity,speed , acceleration , or vibration .Traditionally ,sensors (such as actuators    and switches )have been used to set limits on the performance of machines .Common    examples are (a) stops on machine tools to restrict work table movements ,(b)    pressure and temperature gages with automatics shut-off features , and (c) governors    on engines to prevent excessive speed of operation . Sensor technology has become an    important aspect of manufacturing processes and systems .It is essential for proper    data acquisition and for the monitoring ,communication , and computer control of    achines and systems .  
Because they convert one quantity to another , sensors  often are referred to as transducers .Analog sensors produce a signal , such as voltage ,which is proportional    to the measured quantity .Digital sensors have numeric or digital outputs that can be transferred to computers directly .Analog-to-coverter(ADC) is available for  interfacing analog sensors with computers.    

Classifications of Sensors 

Sensors that are of interest in manufacturing may be classified generally as    follows:   
 Machanical sensors measure such as quantities as sitions ,shape ,velocity ,force ,torque , pressure , vibration , strain , and  mass .   Electrical sensors measure voltage , current , charge , and conductivity .    Magnetic sensors measure magnetic field ,flux , and permeablity .    

Thermal sensors measure temperature , flux ,conductivity , and special heat . Other types are acoustic , ultrasonic,chemical ,optical, radiation,laser ,and  fiber-optic . Depending on its application , a sensor may consist of metallic, nonmetallic,organic,or inorganic materials,as well as fluids ,gases ,plasmas,or semiconductors .Using the special characteristics of these materials,sensors covert   the quantity or property measured to analog or digital output. The operation of an   ordinary mercury thermometer , for example , is based on the difference between the  thermal expansion of mercury and that of glass.Similarly, a machine part,a physical obstruction , or barrier in a space can be    detected by breaking the beam of light when sensed by a photoelectric cell . A   proximity sensor ( which senses and measures the distance between it and an object or  a moving member of a machine ) can be based on acoustics,magnetism,capacitance,or optics . Other actuators contact the object and take appropriate action ( usually by electromechanical means ) . Sensors are essential to the conduct of intelligent robots,and are being developed with capabilities that resemble those of humans.