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Sensing RF Connector Tightness Using a Grounded Plate Capacitive Structure

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6 Author(s)
Brian D. Mott ; Electr. Eng. Dept., Rochester Inst. of Technol., Rochester, NY ; Chris P. Natoli ; Christopher Michael Feuerstein ; Noah P. Montena
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This paper describes a grounded plate capacitive sensing technique for monitoring mated RF connector tightness. The capacitive sensing structure and conditioning electronics are fabricated on the surface of a small polystyrene disc which is integrated into the RF connector body. A model of the electrostatic-mechanical system accurately predicts the change in capacitance as a function of the torque applied to tighten the mated connectors. Mechanical displacement in the connector (or, indirectly, axial force on the mated connector) translates to a change in the period of an oscillator drive circuit. The sensing system is measured to provide a transducer sensitivity range from 0.15 pF/Nmiddotm at the initial connector mating force to 0.74 pF/Nmiddotm at the high end of mating force.

Published in:

IEEE Sensors Journal  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 11 )