Acceleration’s Effect on A Tilt Sensor & What To Do About It

Jewell Instruments
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Acceleration Effects on Tilt Measurement

High precision inclinometers are vital to provide feedback on the tilt of a plethora of applications, but what happens when it is placed in an environment that includes linear motion? Many applications will put some acceleration on an inclinometer such as rail maintenance of way, pavement profiling and robotics and as the sensor’s user, you should know what to expect in your readings.

When Acceleration is Applied…

Force balanced inclinometers are gravity-referenced, which means they are constantly undergoing gravitational acceleration, even at rest. When the sensor is tilted by an angle θ, this is recognized as an acceleration component T, where T = Gsinθ (see diagram). For small angles measured in radians, sinθ = θ and this can be shown as T = θ.

If the sensor receives a horizontal acceleration of magnitude T, it will respond the same whether that motion is tilt or acceleration. An acceleration of one milliG is the same as a tilt of one milliradian and both are measured with the same amplitude within the passband.

How to Differentiate Acceleration from Tilt

When both acceleration and tilt are present in your application, there are a few methods to differentiate one from the other. If tilt is being read at a lower frequency than acceleration, the acceleration can be removed by low-pass filtering and many Jewell analog inclinometers can be customized with a low-pass filter.

You may also want to perform an analysis to determine if the acceleration amplitudes are much lower than the tilt. If so, you may be able to safely ignore the acceleration, even if both occur at the same frequencies.

For whatever motion you are trying to measure within your application, we have a solution for you. Explore our line of force-balanced inclinometers or reach out to us to learn how we can help.

Acceleration’s Effect on A Tilt Sensor & What To Do About It

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