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Feasibility of Frequency-Modulated Wireless Transmission for a Multi-Purpose MEMS-Based Accelerometer

Sabato, Alessandro; Feng, Maria Q.

Recent advances in the Micro Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technology have made wireless MEMS accelerometers an attractive tool for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of civil engineering structures. To date, sensors’ low sensitivity and accuracy—especially at very low frequencies—have imposed serious limitations for their application in monitoring large-sized structures. Conventionally, the MEMS sensor’s analog signals are converted to digital signals before radio-frequency (RF) wireless transmission. The conversion can cause a low sensitivity to the important low-frequency and low-amplitude signals. To overcome this difficulty, the authors have developed a MEMS accelerometer system, which converts the sensor output voltage to a frequency-modulated signal before RF transmission. This is achieved by using a Voltage to Frequency Conversion (V/F) instead of the conventional Analog to Digital Conversion (ADC). In this paper, a prototype MEMS accelerometer system is presented, which consists of a transmitter and receiver circuit boards. The former is equipped with a MEMS accelerometer, a V/F converter and a wireless RF transmitter, while the latter contains an RF receiver and a F/V converter for demodulating the signal. The efficacy of the MEMS accelerometer system in measuring low-frequency and low-amplitude dynamic responses is demonstrated through extensive laboratory tests and experiments on a flow-loop pipeline.

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Academic Units
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Publisher
MDPI
Published Here
October 22, 2014