Not Your Father's Strain Gauge

by Paul E. Grayson, Chairman and CEO; Strain Monitoring Systems (SMS) Inc., Norcross, GA,
William Law, SMS Staff Engr. and Dir. of Market Res.; Strain Monitoring Systems Inc., Norcross, GA,
Larry D. Thompson, Vice Pres. and Co-Founder; Strain Monitoring Systems, Norcross, GA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 7, Pg. 68-71

Document Type: Feature article


A new type of strain gauge incorporates smart memory methods to assess changes in structures. Inexpensive, easy to install and durable, these gauges are passive peak strain sensors, which are less costly partly because they do not require constant power and data logging to be effective. Traditional sensors such as bonded resistive gauges are more complicated, measure very small changes in parameters and are expensive to read. The passive systems permanently record the degree of strain in smart metal alloys. A second, patent-pending sensor involves linear potentiometers. These are items previously unrecognized as sensors, which use a change in resistance across a strip of conductive plastic to produce a voltage change proportional to displacement.

Subject Headings: Strain | Probe instruments | Strain gages | Synthetic materials | Smart buildings | Plastics | Parameters (statistics)

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