The role of LVDTs in structural testing and maintenance

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs) and other metrology tools have many applications in civil engineering and play an important role in the construction, testing and maintenance of buildings and structures. 

Residential, public, commercial and industrial buildings and structures, such as apartment blocks, hotels, bridges and roads, must be fit for purpose. LVDT technology is integral to achieving and maintaining safety standards and avoiding catastrophic structural failure. 


How metrology tools safeguard structure safety and performance

Understanding the properties, movements and limitations of natural and construction materials is vital to ensuring that buildings and structures are safe and fit for purpose. Precision measurement sensors, displacement sensors and transducers play an important role in the provision of this knowledge and the data behind it. 

LVDT systems are used to: 

  • Survey mechanical properties of soil and rock of civil engineering sites prior to construction and to carry out laboratory testing of new materials.
  • Test for deformation of a structure during the construction phase and the life of the building, detecting motion and potential points of failure.
  • Test aggregates and asphalts for small displacement under force applications to monitor and measure material behaviour.
  • Test concrete to ensure that it has the correct properties and to fully understand its capabilities.
  • Carry out hardness testing, measuring the density of construction materials, such as carbon steel, alloy steel and non-ferrous metals, and testing for physical displacement during construction and structure life.



    LVDT tech for your civil engineering applications

    The checking of structure integrity and adherence to standards are vital processes during the construction phase and over a structure’s life, and LVDTs play a key role in generating the data that facilitates comprehensive testing and preventative maintenance.

    As such, the quality of the LVDT technology used in civil engineering applications is of paramount importance. Construction environments and metrology systems requirements vary, but the following LVDT functionality is commonly required: 

  • To operate to a high standard in harsh environments, LVDTs must be robust.
  • To operate over significant distances, it must be possible to connect LVDTs and recording equipment (4-20mA versions) using long cables.
  • To achieve the easy collecting, logging and analysing of data, it should be possible to connect LVDTs to a network (such as the Orbit Network).
  • If access is an issue in a civil engineering environment, miniature LVDTs are required to take key measurements and obtain key data.
  • If large gap measurement is required with regard to structural testing or maintenance, long-range LVDTs are required to accurately retrieve key data.
  • To detect small movements, which is a key requirement in civil engineering project testing and maintenance, LVDTs with high resolution are vital.



    Structural maintenance and the role of the right metrology partner

    Displacement transducer technology is central to the accurate and reliable testing and maintenance of key buildings and structures, and the use of quality metrology tools is crucial to ensuring safety and performance. 

    The right metrology solutions partner will make sure that you have the civil engineering testing and maintenance metrology applications best suited to your needs and that these systems perform to the highest standards


    To find out more about what Solartron Metrology can do for your business, contact us on +44 (0)1243 833333 or