Magnetostrictive Technologies

MTS Temposonics

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As the pioneer of magnetostrictive linear displacement technology, MTS has superior expertise in its application to linear position sensing.

By definition, magnetostriction is a small variation in the size or shape of a ferromagnetic material when that material is applied to a magnetic field. When that principle is applied in MTS position sensor technology, the result is a very precise, reliable and repeatable position output which occurs with no contact between the sensing elements.

This is achieved when an interrogation or current pulse is launched in a specially-designed magnetostrictive waveguide, creating an instantaneous magnetic field along the active length of a sensor. This magnetic field then interacts with the magnetic field generated by a magnet attached to a moveable machine part or liquid level float.

The interaction of the two magnetic fields creates a torsional strain pulse which travels at sonic speed through the waveguide and which is detected by the unit's electronics. The ' ion of the magnet or float is determined by measuring the elapsed time between the posit launching of the interrogation pulse and the detection of the strain pulse. The result is accurate, non-contact position sensing with absolutely no wear to the sensing components.

Measuring Accuracy

The versatility of MTS position sensors is demonstrated in the variety of performance parameters through which the sensors can be evaluated. For example, the critical requirements of some applications may be very rapid update times, while other applications may rely more on superior precision. All MTS position sensors provide excellent performance; however, some models and outputs provide specific performance parameters for distinct application demands.

When using performance parameters to 'udge the accuracy of position sensors, it's important to realize that overall performance of a position sensing system depends on many factors. Most of those factors fall outside the performance parameters of the position sensor, such as the precision capabilities of the controller or display device and integrity of the mechanical linkages and alignments. The performance parameters of the sensor related to system accuracy are non-linearity, resolution, repeatability, hysteresis and temperature coefficient.


Non-linearity is the measure of the difference between the position of the magnet or float at points along the stroke length of the sensor and the actual physical position of the magnet or float. Given the nature of magnetostriction, this miniscule variability is caused by minute differences in the propagation rate of the return signals through the waveguide medium. Non-linearity is expressed in absolute error or as a percentage of the active stroke length. For example, Temposonics III sensors feature exceptional non-linearity as low as 0.01 percent.


Resolution is the smallest detectable incremental change in position along the stroke length of the sensor that can be indicated in an output. Resolution is dependent on counter speed and the number of interrogation cycles used. For example, Temposonics III sensors have a very high built-in counter that provides up to 7,500 measurements per second. This counter allows the sensor to provide resolutions up to two microns with a single interrogation cycle.


In magnetostrictive sensors, repeatability is usually equal to resolution. This occurs because repeatability is the measure of change in indicated position between consecutive readings when a point along a stroke length is approached repeatedly from the same direction.


Similar to repeatability hysteresis is the measure of change in indicated position for the same point on a stroke length when the point is reached repeatedly from either direction.

Temperature Coefficient

Temperature coefficient is simply the degree to which the indicated position is affected by ambient temperature changes. It is measured in ppm/OF or ppm/OC (ppm = parts per million).

As the leader in magenetostrictive linear position sensors, MTS sets the industry standard for accuracy. The Temposonics III series offers the best precision in the industry and is faster than any magnetostrictive position sensor for applications requiring 2 micron resolution. The Temposonics III also features the best nonlinearity in the industry. The ability to derive accuracy through a variety of means adds to the products' versatility and increases the range of applications for which MTS position sensors can be used.

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