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Using Accelerometers in a Data Acquisition System

Authored on: Jun 17, 2008 by Bob Judd

Technical Paper

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Accelerometers are widely used in industry for measuring vibration in rotating machinery, moving vehicles, and aircraft. Virtually all accelerometer devices use the force generated by moving a seismic mass to measure acceleration of the mass. The displacement of the mass or the force developed by the motion of the mass is detected and measured by a very wide range of sensors, such as electromagnetic, electrostatic, magnetic reluctance, inductive (LVDT), piezoelectric, and micromachined semiconductors (MEMS).

New types of accelerometers and integrated sensor systems are now replacing more traditional vibration sensors. The new devices offer increased sensitivity, a wider range of operating frequencies, and much wider range of application in industry. This paper describes the most popular and widely used types of accelerometers now in common industrial use, compares their typical performance specifications, shows how they are used in typical data acquisition applications, and points the reader to sources of more detailed reference information.

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