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An Introduction to Force Sensors

Posted on March 23, 2021 Michael Rodriguez Aircraft Parts

A force sensor is a device used to measure the forces that act on an object. In general, force sensors measure tensile and pressure forces in addition to elastic deformations. However, there are many variants in which force can be measured and determined by the sensors. When determining what type of sensor is best for a certain application, factors such as desired measuring range and expected accuracy are the primary criteria to consider. If a precise value within a small range is needed, the more receptive the force sensor you will need. In this blog, we will discuss the main types of force sensors, how they work, and their benefits.

There are three main types of force sensors: simple pressure force sensors, strain gauge force sensors, and multi-axis force sensors. Simple pressure force sensors, also known as mechanical pressure sensors, are good for detecting force, but do not offer especially precise measurements. Strain gauge force sensors are simple in principle and commonly used in robotics research. Two types of strain gauge sensors exist: multi-axis force sensors and single-axis load cells. Finally, multi-axis force sensors use different strain gauges to detect each force applied to the sensor in six axes.

The basic operating principle of a force sensor is that it responds to an applied force and converts the value to a measurable quantity. Most force sensors are created with the use of force-sensing resistors. Sensors of this type include electrode and sensing film. Force-sensing resistors are based on contact resistance. These resistors consist of a conductive polymer film that changes its resistance when force is applied on the surface. 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 such as reducing the drift of polymer electrode configurations being tested with the sensor.

Force sensors have a diverse range of applications and are therefore beneficial in many different industries. For example, in manufacturing companies, force measurement is needed to determine the force for weight measurement or in the production process. However, industrial use is only one application of force sensors. In road traffic, force sensors are used in trucks to help quickly and precisely determine the load on an axle. Many different types of forces sensors are used in automobiles. In trailer couplings, for example, force sensors provide the ability to measure the trailer’s load and determine static information relating to dynamic driving behavior on the road. This allows control technology in the vehicle to react more quickly and effectively.

Force sensors are also used in the railway industry, where they help determine freight weights, passenger cars, or the drawbar’s tractive forces. All this information is collected and used to provide smooth and safe operation in a given set of parameters. Force sensors are used in nearly all industries where they provide many helpful benefits. However, it is important to note that not all force sensors are the same and different types work differently. As such, it is important to consider many factors before purchasing one.

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