LVDT – (LINEAR VARIABLE DIFFERENTIAL TRANSFORMER).An LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) is a type of electromechanical sensor used for measuring linear displacement or position. Despite its complex-sounding name, the LVDT operates on a straightforward principle of electromagnetic induction. It offers high accuracy and reliability in a variety of applications.

LVDT Construction:

Primary Coil: The LVDT is constructed with three coils: a primary coil positioned between two secondary coils. These coils are usually wound around a central, cylindrical-shaped core made of ferromagnetic material.

Core: A ferromagnetic core, usually made of nickel-iron alloy, passes through the centre of the coils. This core is free to move without any physical contact inside the coils.

Secondary Coils: Positioned on either side of the primary coil, these coils detect changes in the core’s position.

Signal Conditioning Circuitry: Connected to the secondary coils, this circuitry amplifies and converts the induced voltage into a measurable form.

Working Principle:

The working principle of an LVDT involves the interaction of magnetic fields and coils, generating measurable electrical output based on the movement of its core:

AC Voltage Induction: When an alternating current (AC) voltage is applied to the primary coil, it creates a changing magnetic field around the coil.

This changing magnetic field induces voltages in the two secondary coils positioned on either side of the primary coil.

Balanced Output at Centre: The LVDT is designed so that when the core is perfectly centred within the coils, the outputs of the secondary coils are equal but opposite in phase.

This arrangement results in a balanced or null output signal because the induced voltages in the secondary coils cancel each other.

Effect of Core Movement: An external force or displacement causes the core to move linearly within the coils. Thereby, it alters the magnetic flux distribution in the secondary coils.

This change in flux linkage induces different voltages in the secondary coils.

Variation in Output Voltage: As the core moves, it causes a change in the mutual inductance between the secondary coils and the primary coil.

This change leads to an imbalance in the induced voltages in the secondary coils.

Consequently, one secondary coil experiences an increase in voltage while the other sees a decrease.

The difference in voltage between the secondary coils becomes directly proportional to the displacement of the core from its centred position.

Output as Position Measurement: This difference in voltage serves as an electrical representation of the core’s displacement.

Measuring the voltage difference in the secondary coils allows precise determination of the core’s linear position in the LVDT.

Characteristics and Advantages:


Accuracy: LVDTs are known for their high accuracy and precision in measuring linear displacement.

Reliability: Their non-contact operation ensures durability and reliability even in harsh environments.

Linearity: They exhibit excellent linearity in their output over a wide range of displacements.

Resolution: LVDTs offer high resolution, capable of detecting extremely small changes in position.

No Friction or Wear: Since there is no physical contact between the core and coils, there is any wear or friction. Therefore, resulting in durability and consistent performance.


Wide Range of Applications: LVDTs are versatile and find use in industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, robotics, etc.

Robustness: They withstand challenging environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, vibrations, and pressures.

High Reliability: Their non-contact operation reduces the risk of failure and ensures a long operational life.

Easy Integration: LVDTs are relatively easy to integrate into various systems. It is due to their simple design and compatibility with electronic circuits.

Output Stability: Their output remains stable and consistent over time, ensuring reliable and accurate measurements.


Industrial Automation:

In manufacturing, LVDTs are employed for precise positioning in automated machinery and robotics.

They are used in quality control systems to monitor and measure dimensional changes in manufacturing processes.

Aerospace and Automotive:

LVDTs play a crucial role in flight control systems, ensuring accurate and reliable position measurements in aircraft.

In the automotive industry, they are used for suspension systems, engine testing, and gearbox positioning.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems:

LVDTs monitor and regulate positions in hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, ensuring precise control and feedback in these systems.

Geotechnical and Civil Engineering:

In geotechnical applications, LVDTs are used for monitoring structural integrity, such as measuring building foundation settlement.

Medical Devices:

They are utilized for precise positioning and control in devices like MRI machines, patient tables, and robotic surgical systems.


The LVDT is a robust, highly reliable sensor valued for its accuracy, precision, and durability in measuring linear displacement.

Its non-contact operation, excellent linearity, and high resolution render it essential across various industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, etc.

The versatility and adaptability of LVDTs continue to play a pivotal role in modern technological advancements and engineering applications.

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