A device that is used for measuring acceleration, that is, the rate of change of the velocity of an object, is known as an accelerometer. The acceleration is measured either in meters per second or in G-forces. On earth, G-force is equivalent to 9.8 m/s2.
Working of an Accelerometer
An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that can sense either static or dynamic forces of acceleration. Gravity is an example of static forces, while vibrations and movement are dynamic forces. Acceleration can be measured in one, two, or three axes. However, the three-axis is becoming common as the cost of development is reduced.
There are capacitive plates in accelerometers. They could be either fixed or attached to minuscule springs. The movement of these plates is in relation to the capacitance between them. As the capacitance changes, acceleration can be determined.
There are other types of accelerometers that work around piezoelectric materials. When these structures are placed under mechanical stress, electrical charge is obtained as an output, here it is acceleration.
Types of Accelerometers
Depending on the application, accelerometers are classified into different types, and they are as follows:
- Premium grade accelerometer: In such accelerometers, premium crystals are used to reduce the noise. Also, stainless steel is used, which protects the accelerometer from harsh industrial environments.
- Industrial grade accelerometer: These accelerometers are used in every machine. They are like workhorses of the industries.
- High vibration accelerometer: These accelerometers are used for measuring high-level vibrations. The output of such an accelerometer is low, and its mass is also less. They have a stud-mounted design and are used in industries that have vibration labs and heavy machine tools.
Applications of Accelerometers
The accelerometer finds applications in different fields and a few of them are listed below:
- Accelerometers are used in laptops to protect the hard drive from damage. For example, if the laptop slips out of hand, then the accelerometer detects the fall and immediately turns off the hard drive. This is done to avoid the hitting of the hard drive platter.
- In cars, accelerometers help in detecting car crashes and thereby deploying the airbags immediately.
- The displays of smartphones can be either landscape or portrait, depending on how the phone is tilted.
- They are also used for monitoring vibrations in machines. Also, vibrations are harmful to the machine itself. This is one of the reasons why accelerometers are extensively used in industrial machines such as turbines.
Difference Ways to Mount an Accelerometer
The accelerometer is directly mounted to the machine’s surface to measure the vibrations. This is done by applying different mounting ways, and they are as follows:
- Mounting stud
- Isolating stud
- Flat magnet mount
- 2-pole magnet mount
In today’s world, accelerometers find applications in different fields and play an important role. There are different electronic gadgets that we are using that have accelerometers, and it goes unnoticed. The sensor is small, but the tasks performed are of much value. Having a thorough understanding of types of accelerometer also makes their uses easy in industries.
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