A New Electromagnetic Instrument for Thickness Gauging of Conductive Materials
Eddy current techniques are widely used to measure the thickness of electrically conducting materials[1–3]. The approach, however, requires an extensive set of calibration standards and can be quite time consuming to set up and perform. Recently, an electromagnetic sensor was developed which eliminates the need for impedance measurements [4–8]. The ability to monitor the magnitude of a voltage output independent of the phase enables the use of extremely simple instrumentation. Using this new sensor a portable hand-held instrument was developed (Fig. 1). The device makes single point measurements of the thickness of nonferromagnetic conductive materials. The technique utilized by this instrument requires calibration with two samples of known thicknesses that are representative of the upper and lower thickness values to be measured. The accuracy of the instrument depends upon the calibration range, with a larger range giving a larger error. The measured thicknesses are typically within 2–3% of the calibration range (the difference between the thin and thick sample) of their actual values. In this paper the design, operational and performance characteristics of the instrument along with a detailed description of the thickness gauging algorithm used in the device are presented.