History of the Inclinometer

Alexandria Torres

Early inclinometers or clinometers were made up of two basic parts, one of which is a flat side, or base, on which it stands, and the second a hollow disk just half filled with some heavy liquid. The glass face of the disk is surrounded by a graduated scale that marks the angle at which the surface of the liquid stands, with reference to the flat base. The line 0, being parallel to the base, when the liquid stands on that line, the flat side is horizontal; the line 90, being perpendicular to the base, when the liquid stands on that line, the flat side is perpendicular or plumb. Intervening angles are marked, and, with the aid of conversion tables, the instrument indicates the rate of fall per set distance of horizontal measurement, and set distance of the sloping line.

The earliest electronic inclinometers used some form of a weight, an extension, and a potentiometer. Early in the 1900s precision curved glass tubes filled with a damping liquid and a steel ball were introduced to provide accurate visual angle indication. Common sensor technology for electronic tilt sensors includes accelerometers, liquid capacitives, electrolytics, gas bubbles in liquid, and pendula. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology is fast becoming the new standard due it’s tiny size and low cost. Inclinometers and clinometers generate an artificial horizon and measure angular tilt with respect to this horizon. They are used in cameras, aircraft flight controls, and automobile security systems. The tilt angle range is the range of desired linear output measured in degrees.

The earliest electronic inclinometers used some form of a weight, an extension, and a potentiometer. Early in the 1900s precision curved glass tubes filled with a damping liquid and a steel ball were introduced to provide accurate visual angle indication. Common sensor technology for electronic tilt sensors includes accelerometers, liquid capacitives, electrolytics, gas bubbles in liquid, and pendula. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology is fast becoming the new standard due it’s tiny size and low cost. Inclinometers and clinometers [http://www.tiltmeter.com] generate an artificial horizon and measure angular tilt with respect to this horizon. They are used in cameras, aircraft flight controls, and automobile security systems. The tilt angle range is the range of desired linear output measured in degrees.

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