Now Calibrating: Accelerometers

Accelerometer Basics

An accelerometer is a tool that measures proper acceleration using an inertial transducer to sense mechanical motion and convert it into a measurable electrical quantity. Calibrating an accelerometer is a way to provide a physical reference to a common standard and is the first step in getting quality measurements.

Calibration Basics

For calibration we must subject the accelerometer to many tests to determine output based on a variety of inputs. Common characteristics that are measured include:

  • Resonant Frequency
  • Phase Response
  • Sensitivity
  • Transverse Sensitivity
  • Amplitude Response

Vibration Calibration

Aldinger specializes in Vibration Calibration for accelerometers. Our process uses a back-to-back calibration system in our climate-controlled laboratory using an Accelerometer Calibration Workstation Model 9155.

The calibration workstation automates the tedious calibration process and minimizes opportunity for human error, enhancing repeatability and accuracy. Comparisons are performed by back-to-back measurements against a reference standard, measuring sensitivity, linearity, frequency, and phase response.

The sensor under test is mounted with a traceable standard reference accelerometer in a back-to-back arrangement. Since the motion of input is the same for both devices, the ratio of their outputs is also the ratio of their sensitivity.

Why Calibrate?

Typically when asking the question, “why calibrate?” we first must answer, “What is the cost of failure?” Accelerometers are used in diverse and at times extreme applications. In educational settings, or when taking measurements with redundancy, cost of failure can be low. Even when accurate equipment is important, performing a simple test and identifying a bad result rarely imperils the outcome.

Where calibration becomes critical for cost savings is when performing a ‘one shot’ test. This is when only one opportunity to collect data is available. This would be something like a rocket launch, building implosion, or single-use military equipment.

Another critical place for traceable calibrations of accelerometers is those made used in aircraft engine monitoring/maintenance and automotive testing. This helps these industries maintain and control their critical equipment, and ensure public safety.

Regardless of your cost of failure, Aldinger can help you get your equipment calibrated with accredited ISO 17025 calibrations in a timely manner.

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