How Are Inclinometers Used?

Engineers use all sorts of different high-tech and low-tech devices to take measurements and get appropriate data about a structure or the ground around it. One of the most crucial devices in an engineer’s arsenal is an inclinometer. Keep reading to learn what an inclinometer does, how it works and things that need to be considered when an engineer chooses an inclinometer.

What does an inclinometer do?

Also known as a tilt sensor, an inclinometer is used to measure the angles and elevation of an object with respect to gravity. The device can either give us an angular measurement—like degrees, minutes and seconds—or a percentage with reference to a zero-level plane.

These devices are preferable in fieldwork because they can be easily transported to a site to obtain the necessary measurements. They’re also easy to read and provide fast results.

How does an inclinometer work?

Inclinometers use an accelerometer to measure the angles, monitoring the effect of gravity on a small mass suspended in a support structure. When the device tilts, the mass moves, causing a change of capacitance between the mass and its support.

What are some things to consider when choosing an inclinometer?

Not all inclinometers are created equal, which is why engineers need to be careful when selecting their devices for any given project. These are a few of the things an engineer takes into account:

  • Number of axes: Inclinometers can either be single-axis or dual-axis devices. As you can tell by their names, a single-axis unit only measures angles in one axis, while a dual-axis device captures roll and pitch axes. If an engineer needs more data about an area, they’ll go with a dual-axis tilt sensor.
  • Measurement range: An engineer must also be aware of their device’s calibrated measurement range, as not all devices can measure all angles. For example, a device with a 45-degree range can measure everything from angles with a -45-degree angle to a +45-degree angle.
  • Temperature range: As we mentioned earlier, inclinometers are designed to be used out in the field, but an engineer must be careful when choosing their inclinometers if the weather outside is particularly cold or hot. Measurements can get thrown off if an inclinometer isn’t designed to be used in extreme conditions.
  • Output device: Advanced inclinometers can be connected to external devices to retrieve the data or even send the data to a whole network of other devices. Engineers must trust that the device receiving the data from the inclinometer is calibrated and configured correctly in order to get accurate results.

Hire EMC2 Inc. to take your measurements

If you need a geo-structural engineering team to take measurements of your structure or land, be sure to bring in our pros at EMC2 Inc. We have over 25 years of experience, and we only use the highest-quality inclinometers, so you can trust that the data we present is as accurate as possible. Call today to get your quote or to learn more about how an inclinometer works.