Year of Publication

2003

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

R. Ryan Vallance

Abstract

Capacitive displacement sensors have many applications where non-contact, high precision measurement of a surface is required. Because of their non-contact nature they can easily measure conductive surfaces that are flexible or otherwise unable to be measured using a contact probe. Since the output of the capacitance gage is electrical, data points can be collected quickly and averaged to improve statistics. It is often necessary for capacitive displacement sensors to gage the distance from a curved (non-flat) surface. Although displacements can easily be detected, the calibration of this output can vary considerably from the flat case. Since a capacitance gage is typically factorycalibrated against a flat reference, the experimental output contains errors in both gain and linearity. A series of calibration corrections is calculated for rectifying this output. Capacitance gages are also limited in their overall displacement travel. A support stage is described that, along with control electronics, allow the properties of the capacitance gage to be combined with an interferometer to overcome this displacement limitation. Finally, an application is proposed that would make use of the capacitance sensor and support stage assembly.

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