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How Do Force Sensors Work? And What Are Their Benefits?

There are several laws of physics that are based on force. One of these is the well-known principle that when applied to any object of mass, force changes the velocity of the object.

There are other concepts related to force including torque, thrust, and drag – thrust increases the object’s velocity, while drag reduces velocity, and torque generates changes in the object’s rotational speed.

When there’s a balanced distribution of forces in the object, there is acceleration. If you want to monitor the force on an object, you need a device called a force sensor.

What to Know About Force Sensors

Force sensors are responsible for measuring the force acting on an object. As a golden rule, both tensile and pressure forces, as well as elastic deformations are measured.

Moreover, there are different variants in which force may be measured and determined through the sensors.

The required and desired measuring range and expected accuracy are the primary criteria to evaluate which kind of force transducer is suited for the respective application.

The more precise the values need to be and the smaller the measuring range, the more receptive the force sensors should be.

Since different force sensors are employed in different industries, it is best to avail the services of experts, such as the ones at Load Indicator, to be sure about using the correct type for the application under consideration.

There are several types of force sensors for various applications. Some of these include the following:

  • Simple Pressure Force Sensors – These are known as mechanical pressure sensors. Generally, they’re not suitable for precision measurements, but good for detecting force.
  • Strain Gauge Force Sensors – These use simple principles and most of them are used in robotics research. The two forms of strain gauge force sensors are multi-axis force sensors and single-axis load cells.
  • Multi-axis Force Sensors use different strain gauges to detect every force applied to the sensor in 6 axes. On the other hand, single-axis load cells are common in some fields like physics and mechanical engineering. They also use a single strain gauge for measuring force in 1 axis.

How a Force Sensor Works

The working principle of a force sensor is that it responds to the applied force, as well as converts the value to a measurable quantity. Most force sensors are created with the use of force-sensing resistors. Such sensors consist of electrodes and sensing film.

Force-sensing resistors are based on contact resistance. These contain a conductive polymer film, which changes its resistance in a predictable way once force is applied on the surface.

This film includes non-conducting, micrometer sized, and electrically conducting particles, which are arranged in a matrix. If force is applied to the film’s surface, microsized particles touch the sensor electrodes, which change the film’s resistance.

The amount of change may alter the resistance value that provides a measure of the applied force.

To boost the performance of force-sensing resistors, different efforts are made using several approaches like reducing the drift of polymer electrode configurations being tested with the sensor.

Benefits of Force Sensors

Force sensors are beneficial in various industries. These have diverse areas of application in work.

A crucial focus is force measurement in manufacturing companies, where force transducers are frequently used to determine the force for weight measurement or in the process of production.

But industrial use covers only a small part of the force measurement.

In road traffic, force measurement plays an essential role. For instance, force sensors are being used in trucks. This means that the axle load may be determined precisely to enable effective and fast monitoring.

Different force sensors are in use in automobiles. For instance, force sensors in the area of trailer couplings offer the possibility to know the trailer’s load, and to determine static information in relation to dynamic driving behavior on the road.

It means that control technology within the vehicle may react faster and more effectively behind the wheel.

Force sensors are used in several applications in the railway industry. They determine freight weights and passenger cars or the drawbar’s tractive forces.

All information collected will be made available to ensure smooth and safe operation within the recommended parameters. Force sensors aren’t only used on the railway, but also in the track system area.

Such sensors ascertain the number of the wheels driven over the track part, and release or block the track section and boost future rail traffic safety.

In the area of bridges and cranes, the use of force sensors has a positive effect on user safety and technology.

These also enable structural problems or damage to be detected at an early stage that increases safety at every step.

In the case of cranes, different force sensors are only used to work out the center of the crane’s gravity, but also to check the trailer’s weight. It ensures more effective performance and greater work safety with heavy equipment.

Consult an expert

All in all, force sensors are used in almost all industries. However, it is important to take note that not all force sensors are the same and work differently.

So, if you need a particular force sensor, make sure to consult an expert for you to determine the right type for your needs.

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