Transducers and Actuators

  • Edward B. Magrab
Part of the Environmental and Energetics Series book series (ENERGETICS SER.)


Sensors are devices that convert physical quantities such as displacement, temperature, strain, etc., to an electrical change (voltage, resistance, capacitance, inductance or current) that can be measured. Transducers are considered the combination of the sensor plus any mechanical element plus any signal conditioning circuitry such that the output voltage is related to the physical quantity. Sensors are either self-generating (active) or passive. Self-generating sensors convert mechanical, thermal, chemical, or optical energy into electrical energy. Passive sensors on the other hand require electrical energy to be supplied in order for them to convert the physical energy into electrical energy. In addition sensors that convert the physical quantity directly into electrical energy are called direct converters. Examples of self-generating direct converters are thermocouples and piezoelectric materials. When another physical process intervenes prior to the electrical conversion the sensor is referred to as an indirect converter. Examples of passive direct converters are potentiometers, strain gages and differential transformers (LVDTs). Examples of passive indirect converters are capacitor microphones and load cells.


Heat Exchanger Output Voltage Strain Gage Heat Pump Ring Seal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward B. Magrab
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Mechanical EngineeringCollege of Engineering University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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