Piezoelectric accelerometers offer tremendous versatility for shock and vibration measurements. These rugged sensors can withstand adverse environmental conditions. A wide variety of configurations are available to support multiple application requirements. Specialty units are also available through mechanical or electrical design modifications or additional qualification testing.
There are two broad categories for piezoelectric accelerometers – those that contain built-in signal conditioning electronics (ICP® type, voltage mode) and those that do not (Charge Mode). Generally, ICP® accelerometers are preferred, due to ease of use, easier data system calibration setup, and lower system cost. ICP® accelerometers typically come in one of two sensitivities: 10 mV/g (+/- 500 g) or 100 mV/g (+/- 50 g) ranges. Charge Output accelerometers are typically used in high temperature environments, which would otherwise destroy the electrical components in an ICP® type accelerometer.
Triaxial accelerometers offer simultaneous measurements in three orthogonal directions permitting the entire vibration being experienced by a structure to be analyzed. Each unit incorporates three separate sensing elements that are oriented at right angles with respect to each other. Each direction (axis) is considered an individual channel by the data system. Multi-pin electrical connectors, individual cable leads, or multiple coaxial connectors provide the signal outputs for the x, y, and z-axis acceleration.
The use of triaxial accelerometers has gained popularity since the desire for in-depth structural vibration analysis has increased and multi-channel data acquisition costs have declined. These devices are vital tools for structural analysis testing requirements. Manfuacturers are perform this analysis during product development, engineering studies, troubleshooting, and product use validation.