In building a circuit, there are many electronic components involved including transmitters, receivers, sensors, and transducers. By definition, the transduction process is the conversion of one type or form of energy into a different kind of energy. To facilitate the transformation, there is an element capable of sensing the input, and the transducer which will convert the input into another form of energy.
What is a transducer?
Transducers work with various types of energy such as mechanical, electrical, optic, chemical, acoustic, and electromagnetic. In linear displacement, a linear transducer is responsible for detecting the mechanical movement of an object and then converts it into an electrical signal.
Different types of transducers and their applications
The working principle of a sensor is used in a variety of devices. Each of these devices has unique demands. There are transducers which function with the use of an external power source, while active, and, on the other hand, there are those which do not require an external power source. An excellent example of an active transducer is a thermocouple.
- Piezoelectric transducer. This type of sensor is unique because its primary function is to transform mechanical energy into an electrical signal, and in the same manner, the input can be electrical, and the output is mechanical. A piezoelectric transducer can be applied in medical devices which detect muscle movement, as well as machines that calculate engine load.
- Pressure transducer. This type of sensor changes the pressure applied to electrical signals. Pressure transducers are also sometimes called manometers, transmitters, and pressure sensors. In various applications, a pressure sensor measures the amount of pressure of a defined quantity of liquid or gas and converts this information into electrical energy. Typical uses of a pressure sensor include sensing the level or depth of fluids, as well as determining fluid flow.
- Temperature transducer. A temperature transducer is a device that converts temperature into another quality such as pressure or a mechanical signal. Typical applications of a temperature transducer are control devices in HVAC systems.
- Ultrasonic transducer. As the name implies, an ultrasonic transducer converts electrical data into ultrasound. Another term for an ultrasonic transducer is a capacitive transducer. An ultrasonic transducer is typically used to measure distance.
These different types of transducers are useful in a variety of applications across various fields. Some of these sensors are also essential in assembling everyday devices and machines that make our lives more comfortable.
Characteristics of transducers
Like any other type of sensor, choosing a transducer to use for a particular assembly depends on the inherent characteristics of each device. By testing a sensor based on the underlying working conditions, the most suitable sensor is selected. The following are some of the characteristics examined during sensor selection:
- Sensor accuracy
- Measurement precision
- Measurement resolution
- Linearity of measurement
These factors determine whether the features and cost of acquisition for one type of transducer are more ideal than the other. Engineers need to consider the results of these tests to avoid errors in the assembly which can lead to costly repairs and replacement.