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In this paper, a new principle of a smart sensor is proposed, based on three different magnetic effects or operational modes, using the same sensor topology, which consists of a magnetic wire as sensing core, two coils as excitation or search means, and two electric contacts at the ends of the magnetic wire. The magnetic effects currently involved are magnetostriction, magneto-impedance and re-entrant flux reversal. Operating the sensor in these three different modes separately and sequentially, one can obtain the response of the sensor related to three different physical quantities, such as stress, temperature, and field. This paper refers to the first experimental results based on this principle, thus initiating the research work in this field. It has been experimentally observed that the total output of the sensor in each one of the three different modes is equal to the product of each corresponding physical quantity function concerned, provided that a given threshold of the ambient field and preloaded stress is used to bias the sensing element. Therefore, the three unknown parameters of stress, temperature, and field can be determined from a 3×3 matrix equation. Other magnetic effects may also be involved. Furthermore, other physical quantities may also be determined, such as position, pressure, load, etc.
Date of Publication: April 2006