Electromechanical resonators as measuring transducers
With the increasing use of digital computers for data acquisition and digital process control, frequency domain transducers have become very attractive due to their virtual digital output. Essentially they are electrically maintained oscillators where the sensor is the controlling resonator. They are designed to make the frequency a function of the physical parameter being measured. Because of their high quality factor, mechanical resonators give very gocd frequency stability and are widely used as sensors. For this work symmetrical mechanical resonators such as the tuning fork were considered, to be the most promising. These are dynamically clamped and can be designed to have extensive regions where no vibrations occur. This enables the resonators to be robustly mounted in a way convenient for various applications. Designs for the measurement of fluid density and tension have been produced. The principle of the design of the resonator for fluid density measurement is a thin gap (trapping a lamina of fluid) between its two members which vibrate in antiphase. An analysis of the inter action between this resonator and the fluid lamina has been carried out. In gases narrow gaps are needed for a gcod sensitivity and the use of the material fused quartz, because of its low density and very low temperature coefficient, is ideally suitable. In liquids an adequate sensitivity is achieved even with a wide lamina gap. Practical designs of such transducers have been evolved. The accuracy for liquid measurem:;nts is better than 1%. For gases it was found that, in air, a change of atrrospheric pressure of 0.3% could be detected. In constructing a tension transducer using such a mechanical sensor as a wire or a beam, major difficulties are encountered in making an efficient clamping arrangement for the sensor. The use of dynamically clamped beams has been found to overccme the problem and this is the basis of the transducer investigated.