Main Menu

See All Software See All Instruments See All Transducers See All Vibration Testing Equipment See All Electroacoustics See All Acoustic End-of-Line Test Systems See All Academy See All Resource Center See All Applications See All Industries See All Services See All Support See All Our Business See All Our History See All Global Presence

Main Menu

See All Analysis & Simulation Software See All DAQ Software See All Drivers & API See All Utility See All Vibration Control See All High Precision and Calibration Systems See All DAQ Systems See All S&V Handheld Devices See All Industrial Electronics See All Power Analyzer See All S&V Signal Conditioner See All Acoustic Transducers See All Current and Voltage Sensors See All Displacement Sensors See All Force Sensors See All Load Cells See All Multi Component Sensors See All Pressure Sensors See All Strain Sensors See All Strain Gauges See All Temperature Sensors See All Tilt Sensors See All Torque Sensors See All Vibration Transducers See All Accessories for Vibration Testing Equipment See All Vibration Controllers See All Measurement Exciters See All Modal Exciters See All Power Amplifiers See All LDS Shaker Systems See All Test Solutions See All Actuators See All Combustion Engines See All Durability See All eDrive See All Production Testing Sensors See All Transmission & Gearboxes See All Turbo Charger See All Training Courses See All Upcoming Webinars See All Acoustics See All Asset & Process Monitoring See All Durability & Fatigue See All Electric Power Testing See All NVH See All Custom Sensors See All Reliability See All Vibration See All Weighing See All Automotive & Ground Transportation See All Calibration See All Installation, Maintenance & Repair See All Support Brüel & Kjær See All Release Notes See All Compliance

Main Menu

See All nCode - Durability and Fatigue Analysis See All ReliaSoft - Reliability Analysis and Management See All API See All Experimental Testing See All Electroacoustics See All Noise Source Identification See All Environmental Noise See All Sound Power and Sound Pressure See All Noise Certification See All Industrial Process Control See All Structural Health Monitoring See All Electrical Devices Testing See All Electrical Systems Testing See All Grid Testing See All High-Voltage Testing See All Vibration Testing with Electrodynamic Shakers See All Structural Dynamics See All Machine Analysis and Diagnostics See All Dynamic Weighing See All Vehicle Electrification See All Calibration Services for Transducers See All Calibration Services for Handheld Instruments See All Calibration Services for Instruments & DAQ See All On-Site Calibration See All Resources See All Software License Management See All Business Ethics

Choosing Piezoelectric Accelerometers

Choosing an accelerometer can be a complex, often drawn-out process that demands careful consideration of numerous parameters – including the performance levels of your intended vibration preamplifier. But what are these two discrete devices and why are they interlinked in the measurement of acceleration?




Choosing an accelerometer can be a complex, often drawn-out process that demands careful consideration of numerous parameters – including the performance levels of your intended vibration preamplifier. But what are these two discrete devices and why are they interlinked in the measurement of acceleration?



The piezoelectric effect is the ability of some materials to generate electrical charges in response to mechanical stress. Intrinsic piezoelectric monocrystals like quartz develop a charge when force is applied, such as compression or shear deformation. Engineers exploit this effect by integrating piezoelectric transducers into complex sensors; accelerometers, for instance.

A piezoelectric accelerometer comprises multiple active piezoelectric elements coupled to seismic masses. These masses accelerate with the same magnitude as the base of the accelerometer over a broad frequency range; meaning the piezoelectric transducers can generate charges that are proportional to the acceleration of whatever surface the accelerometer is mounted on.



So, what do piezoelectric accelerometers have to do with vibration amplifiers? Unlike most other vibration transducers, piezoelectric accelerometers are used to measure any form of vibration, irrespective of frequency or time. Consequently, they are the most accurate, reliable, and versatile vibration transducers on the market. Yet they rely on vibration preamplifiers for direct signal transmission to data acquisition and analysis instruments.

In fact, vibration preamplifiers can perform several important roles in the piezoelectric transducer measurement chain. They can:

  1. Match the input sensitivity of the measurement instrument to the accelerometer output;
  2. Amplify the vibration signal to obtain a desired overall sensitivity;
  3. Integrate the accelerometer output to acquire displacement and velocity signals;
  4. Warn of overloads at both input and output;
  5. Reject undesired signals through low and high-frequency filtering.

When choosing a vibration preamplifier, you may opt for either a charge or voltage preamplifier. The former is usually preferred as sensitivity is unaffected by cable length. (Insert product image/s for vibration preamplifiers)



While we have narrowed down the best vibration preamplifier for most applications, we haven’t yet discussed the parameters to bear in mind when selecting a piezoelectric accelerometer.


How to Choose a Piezoelectric Accelerometer

Accurate vibration measurements can be inhibited by various extraneous inputs such as extreme temperatures, thermal cycling, humidity, transverse vibrations, high sound levels, and so on. There is simply no such thing as a vibration transducer that is immune to adverse environmental phenomena. So, you want to choose a system that accounts for these effects and minimises their input as much as possible.


Piezoelectric accelerometers can be used over a wide temperature range, but their charge/voltage sensitivities are temperature-dependent, which means impedance will occur above and below reference points.

Piezoelectric accelerometers can be used over a wide temperature range

Acoustic sensitivity is another critical factor for piezoelectric transducers as most vibration measurements are conducted in environments with high sound pressure levels, which can interfere with the accuracy of results.

Unless your piezoelectric accelerometer is completely sealed, it can succumb to changes in low-frequency responses due to moisture ingress in humid environments. These are merely a select few of the environmental effects that can dramatically impact the performance of your accelerometer.

Every Brüel & Kjaer piezoelectric accelerometer comes with a comprehensive list of specifications regarding their sensitivity to specific environmental phenomena. The methods of measuring these effects are described in international standards ISO 5347 (Methods for the Calibration of Shock and Vibration Pickups) and the American standard ANSI S2.11-1969 (The Selection of Calibrations and Tests for Electrical Transducers Used for Measuring Shock and Vibration).

We can guarantee optimum accelerometer performance with reliable operation at very high levels of vibration and no limit on the temperature range imposed by the mounting. Interested in learning more? Contact a member of the Brüel & Kjaer sales team today.