By Alice | 21 November 2023 | 0 Comments

What do strain gauges measure?

What do strain gauges measure?
The first thing to understand when discussing strain gauges is what they measure. A strain gauge is a sensor that measures resistance as a function of strain. Strain is the deformation or displacement of a material caused by an applied stress. Stress is the force applied to the material divided by the cross-sectional area of the material.  The aim is to concentrate the stress through the beam cell where the strain gauge is located. Strain gauges convert the applied force, pressure, torque, etc. into a measurable electrical signal. The force induces a strain, which is then measured by the change in resistance using a strain gauge. Voltage measurements are then used to collect .

How do you measure strain?
Now that the process of strain measurement is established, the next step in using a strain gauge is to obtain useful data. Strain gauges must be connected to a circuit that accurately responds to small changes in resistance associated with strain. Multiple strain gauges can be used in a split-bridge circuit to measure small changes in resistance. This is called a Wheatstone bridge. In a Wheatstone bridge configuration, an excitation voltage is applied at both ends of the circuit and an output voltage is measured at two points in the middle of the bridge. When there is no load acting on the load cell, the Wheatstone bridge is in equilibrium and the output voltage is zero. Any small change in the material underneath the strain gage causes the resistance of the strain gage to change as the material deforms. This causes the bridge to go out of equilibrium, which results in a change in the output voltage. As mentioned earlier, the small change in resistance means that amplification of the signal is usually required to correctly determine the change. The amplification process enhances the change in the strain signal; however, it also results in more unwanted noise being detected in the signal. Signal conditioning filters out the excess noise and ensures that the data is accurate and understandable.

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