How to choose an accelerometer or vibration sensor

Accelerometers and vibration sensors are used in numerous industries and applications. They can be found in military weapons systems, power plants, and submarines; and in the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors.

Knowing what types of accelerometers there are available is critical to finding one that suits your needs most appropriately. They have an important role to play wherever vibrations, shocks or movements occur and whenever those movements need to be measured and kept in check.

 To do this, the first thing to ask yourself is what category of acceleration you are aiming to measure. Is it a vibration (oscillation about a fixed point), as would be present in an automobile’s exhaust system;  a sudden shock as found, for example, in crash testing; a motion or slow acceleration such as that of a robotic arm; or a seismic acceleration (low frequency vibration) as is present in aircraft flutter tests?

The answer to this question will take you to one of three technologies used by accelerometers.

Piezoelectric (PE) accelerometers, the most common variety, are used for both shock and vibration measurements. Piezoresistive (PR) accelerometers, which tend to have low sensitivity, are often used for shock measurements. And lastly, variable capacitance (VC) accelerometers are recommended for measuring low frequency vibration, motion and steady state acceleration.

From that point, you need to consider further factors like operating temperature and humidity, shock limit, accelerometer weight, mounting options, required sensitivity and resolution, signal conditioning and powering, transverse sensitivity, temperature response, and required cable types.

Then, with all questions answered and all relevant factors considered, you are in the right position to choose the ideal product for your specific application.

Whether it is to be used in an underwater application or in a nuclear power plant, there should be a product to meet your requirements.

Click here to view Bestech’s complete range of accelerometers and vibration sensors.