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What Are Sensors and Their Types?

Sensors are a device that is capable of detecting events and changes in a given space, relaying such data to other electronics for the means of data recording, actuation, and more. Sensors can be found in countless applications and industries, ranging from simple elevator button sensors that detect a push to airspeed sensors that ensure aircraft pilots can monitor the vehicle’s forward moving speed. While a plethora of sensor types are available to cater to varying needs, all can be categorized into a select few types. In this blog, we will provide an overview of some of the most common sensor categories, allowing you to better understand the various roles that such devices can serve.

Temperature Sensors

Measuring temperature is important for many applications, commonly being used for medical reasons, manufacturing, safety, and much more. To measure temperature, temperature sensors such as thermocouples, thermistors, resistance temperature detectors, and semiconductor temperature sensors all may be used. With the addition of a temperature sensor to a circuit, switching between on and off states can be conducted when a specific temperature or threshold is met. In many cases, an equipment piece connected to a relay may be activated when the temperature sensor actuates the relay.

Infrared (IR) Sensors

Infrared sensors are those that contain a photocell that emits and detects infrared light for varying operations. Commonly implemented within remote control technology, infrared sensors are designed to carry out a process when infrared light is detected. For a TV remote, as an example, an IR emitter circuit allows for infrared light to be emitted from the device to a connected system. With the connected system’s IR receiver, the infrared light can be detected and translated, allowing for a process such as switching channels or turning on a TV from a distance to be made possible.

Proximity Sensors

Proximity sensors are capable of determining when an object is or is not present within the sensor’s surrounding space. Once a reading is created through a detection, the detection signal is transformed into a medium that can be understood by a user, or one that can be processed by a device or machinery. Proximity sensors are commonly found in retail spaces and buildings, used to operate automatic doors, track item availability, and more. They are also found in automotive applications as well, commonly serving to warn drivers of obstacles for safety. In general, common proximity sensor types include capacitive, inductor, and photoelectric sensors.

Chemical Sensors

Chemical sensors are a type found in numerous industries, capable of detecting any changes in a liquid or air chemical variations. Often being used for cities and places of living, such devices can ensure safety in various ways. Beyond such roles, chemical sensors are also found within space stations, pharmaceutical industries, commercial atmospheric observation applications, and more.

Acceleration Sensors

In order to determine angular and acceleration values, one may use an acceleration sensor. Depending upon the application, the device may be used to determine static force or dynamic force. Static force is a frictional force that exists between objects, commonly serving to determine balance and tilt. Dynamic force, meanwhile, is the amount of acceleration needed for an object to move. Acceleration sensors can be used for numerous applications, piezoelectric, piezoresistive, variable reluctance, and variable capacitance sensors all being common types.

Other Types

Beyond the aforementioned sensor variations, there exists many other sensor categories which can be used for different applications. With ultrasonic sensors, gas sensors, humidity sensors, sound sensors, light sensors, tactile sensors, and many other types, countless applications may benefit from their detection capabilities. If you are in need of sensors and related hardware for your applications, let the experts at AFR Enterprises help you secure competitive pricing and rapid lead-times for your benefit.

AFR Enterprises is a website owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, serving as a leading supplier of sensors that are new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find. Take the time to explore our vast offerings, and our team of industry experts is always available to assist customers through the purchasing process as necessary. If there are particular available items that you are interested in, our team can provide quotes for your comparisons which you may receive through the submission of an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website. See why customers steadily depend upon AFR Enterprises today when you give us a call or email today!


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September 15, 2021
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