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What Is An Accelerometer?

An accelerometer is a device that senses the different types of accelerations or vibrations. Acceleration is the change in velocity caused by movements of a body. An accelerometer absorbs the vibrations created by the body and uses it to know the orientation of the body. A piezoelectric accelerometer has two types which are high impedance output accelerometer and low impedance output accelerometer. On the basis of the working mode, it is mainly of three types. The compression mode, the capacitive mode, and the shear mode. All of them work on sensing the vibrations.

Accelerometer Application

Some applications of the accelerometer are:

  • The accelerometer has a capacity to sense the vibration from a micro scale to a large scale. Even in most of the safety installations the accelerometer is used. 

  • An accelerometer is also used in sports. The wearable devices which athletes are using daily for the practice and observations comprise of accelerometers or gyroscope. 

  • The physicians use it to check for gain in body mass and monitor body movements. It is also present in the devices used to check the heart rate. 

  • The piezoelectric accelerometers are used at the industrial level.

  • The most frequent accelerometer used in aerospace is Micro-Electro-Mechanical-sensors(the MEMS technology) based. The reason for using MEMS sensor-based accelerometers is that they can sense the vibrations even on a micro-scale and can also provide the value on a micro-scale.

  • It is even used for the satellite which is in space, as it can tolerate high pressure, heat, and vibration. 

  • For purposes like gearbox analysis, bearing analysis, rotor trim, and balance, an accelerometer plays an important role.

  • The aircraft are navigated using the accelerometer. The aircraft flight testing is another thing that requires an accelerometer. To check the characteristics of flight and to confirm the design of it an accurate observation of data is expected. For that, an accelerometer named LCA-5080 is in use.

  • An accelerometer is used for safety purposes in laptops for the hard discs. Because of accelerometer sensors, we have landscape and portrait modes on our phones. The mobile phones keep changing the screen mode in landscape or portrait mode due to accelerometer applications.

Types of Accelerometer

The 3 important types of accelerometers are capacitive MEMS accelerometer, piezoresistive accelerometer, and piezoelectric accelerometer.

  • Capacitive MEMS Accelerometer- The MEMS stands for Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System. MEMS is a fabrication technology. In this type of accelerometer, the changes in capacitance are detected instead of a change in resistance. Most of the mobile devices use this MEMS accelerometer.

  • Piezoresistive Accelerometer- It measures the vibrations by changes in resistance. This is the accelerometer that works as DC responsive and proves efficient while measuring very little vibrations, for example, gravity vector. 

  • Piezoelectric Accelerometer- In this type the sensors are made of crystals or ceramics like lead zirconate, lead titanate, etc. This sensor absorbs the vibrations and produces the same amount of electrical signals.

Accelerometer Working Principle

The main working principle of an accelerometer is that it converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. When a mass is kept on the sensor which is actually just like a spring it starts moving down. Since it is moving down it starts experiencing the acceleration. That acceleration hen gets converted into an amount of electric signal which is used for the measurements of variation in the position of the device. AThe accelerometer can be found with both the forms analog as well as digital form devices.

Insight Into How Does An Accelerometer Work

The accelerometer works on the movement or the vibration of the body. It can sense even the vibration on a micro-scale. It senses the vibration and converts that vibration into the piezoelectric effect. A piezoelectric effect occurs when energy is generated due to pressure and stress. That energy then gets converted into the electric voltage. That voltage is used to get velocity and orientation. It can also measure static forces like gravity or dynamic forces which are in phones and laptop devices. The XYZ type accelerometer uses the gravitational force to compare the position of the Devices.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are 6 axis accelerometers?

A 6 axis accelerometer is a combined form of a 3-axis digital accelerometer and a 3 axis digital gyroscope. Here gyroscope helps to measure the angular velocity along the x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis. The acceleration and linear velocity do not affect the measurement of the gyroscope. Hence the 6-axis accelerometer is used for an accurate reading. This kind of accelerometer has a very low power consumption since it contains a low power consumption chip named LSM6DS3. It is highly sensitive to vibration and comes with a power supply regulator inside it.

2. What is an XYZ accelerometer?

An XYZ accelerometer is mostly used in mobile devices to detect the movement of the device. The XYZ is the direction of the axis and is used by the accelerometer for the information of the position of the device. All kinds of mobile devices have options like portrait and landscape mode. These modes in mobile devices change as we rotate our device according to our preferences. The value of XYZ is used for the detection of the position of the device whether we rotate it left or right or tilt it on any side.