The Uses and Functions of Digital Pressure Gauges
Next to temperature, pressure is probably the most common measurement taken for industrial or commercial applications. Even at home, you may measure pressure to properly calibrate your boiler system or ensure the optimum operation of your car tires. A digital pressure gauge is the simplest, most straightforward way of measuring and displaying pressure for most uses. While other pressure sensors typically transmit electrical signals to a remote , digital gauges show the information immediately and locally in a direct, easy-to-understand readout. To best outline the functionality of digital pressure gauges, I should first proffer a brief rundown on how pressure works.
“Pressure” is a general term for the force exerted on a given area unit. Pressure can be static when measuring gas or liquid, sitting still, or dynamic when measuring gas or liquid in motion. (A hydrostatic , for example, could be used to measure the pressure in a water tank). When discussing beverages, pressure can be calculated as “feet of head,” the theoretical height to which a liquid would rise in a container, or “pounds per square inch,” which is the force above exerted per unit of surface area. For most commercial and industrial applications, the gauge readout will be in pounds per square inch or “psi” for short. For example, if I were to attach a gauge to any of the tires on my car right now, the readout would probably be around 32 psi, which means 32 pounds of force per square inch of the tire surface.
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Digital and analog gauges function differently and thus have slightly different applications. Analog gauges usually rely on an internal mechanical structure responding to changes in pressure by either expanding or contracting. A needle is attached to this structure and moves along a set of numbers on a dial to indicate stress. For these sorts of gauges, changes in pressure affect changes in the electrical resistivity of a metal or semiconductor, which is then reflected onto the indicator. Digital meters, on the other hand, use more advanced microprocessors and sensors and can deliver extremely accurate measurements on a user-friendly digital readout.
Digital pressure gauges are useful for various commercial and industrial functions since they’re easy to read and can be calibrated to display essentially any pressure range with extreme accuracy; common applications for these devices include mechanical engineering, generalized service operations, pneumatic testing (air pressure), hydraulics — the list goes on. The readout units can be customized based on location, usage, or personal preference, so the user never needs to calculate conversions manually.
Digital gauges boast many other advantages over their analog counterparts as well. -They’re easy to re-range: they can be quickly calibrated to display pressure in any range. Whether you’re using a hydrostatic pressure gauge to measure the immense pressure in a 75-foot tall water standpipe or you want to measure the relatively tiny amount of pressure exerted by a small gas leak, you can adjust your gauge to reflect any pressure range.
-They have steady readouts in high-vibration applications: an analog gauge will be difficult to read for any mechanical or hydraulic applications where a pipe or piece of machinery vibrates as it exerts dynamic pressure. It might not even give an accurate reflection. On the other hand, a digital gauge will continue to provide a precise measurement even when the machinery is subject to heavy vibration.
These gauges display a simple number that is not subject to interpretation or estimation, which allows an operator to ensure perfect reading accuracy much more easily, requiring no operator interpretation. Analog gauges need the operator to calculate or estimate pressure readouts from an archaic dial setup.to inaccurate results in low-pressure applications but can just as easily result in operator error at any pressure range. A digital gauge won’t have that problem. at the
-They’re far more durable: certain applications where you’ll need to measure pressure might have large spikes in pressure ratings. For example, shutting a valve too quickly or powering down a water pump too fast might produce a “water hammer,” an immediate and powerful surge in pressure. The construction of analog gauges renders them structurally vulnerable to these sorts of pressure spikes, which can end up damaging or even destroying the equipment over time. A digital gauge won’t have that problem. For example, a digital hydrostatic pressure gauge will easily deal with the pressure differential created by the water hammer and continue to give an accurate readout.
Digital gauges aren’t perfect, however. They have two minor drawbacks in their application that I feel are only fair to mention. -They require power: analog gauges don’t rely on electricity so they can function without an external power source. The same isn’t true of digital. With a digital gauge, you’ll need to provide electricity, whether by battery (as is most common) or by other means such as solar.
-Analog gauges are slightly more useful in highly variable pressure situations: it’s a little bit easier to watch a needle bounce back and forth to get a general sense of rapid pressure changes than to watch numbers quickly change on a screen.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the supremacy of the digital gauge! For my pressure measurement needs, I always go digital. Whether at work at my water treatment plant, for the tires on my car, or my SCUBA equipment, I prefer the ease and versatility of digital in almost all applications.!