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Electrical Conductivity Meter

Electrical conductivity meter is a kind of instrument that can directly measure the conductivity of non-ferromagnetic materials by eddy current testing. It collects testing data about 1,000 times per minute by the means of digital signal acquisition and converts the conductivity value to 20 °C according to the method of temperature compensation to ensure measurement accuracy.

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An eddy current conductivity meter is used as an instrument to measure the electrical conductivity of non-ferrous metals according to the eddy current principle.

When a coil (otherwise called a probe) along with an alternating current cut off approaches the external part of a conductive material, a spiral current is induced on as well as near the surface of this conductive material due to the action of the alternating magnetic field of the coil. This type of current is called eddy current. The eddy current in a sample material creates its own magnetic field reaction on the coil, where the size of this reaction will be related to the conductivity of the sample material surface or near the surface. Even the conductivity of a non-ferromagnetic conductive material can be easily and quickly detected by an eddy current conductometer.

 

Applications of eddy current conductivity meter:

– Aluminum, copper, as well as other non-ferrous metal processing industry to test the conductivity of workpieces
– Conductivity test before anodizing aluminum
– Test resistivity of materials
– Inspect the grade of material purity followed by sorting the waste
– Monitoring the heat treatment processes, hardness, as well as strength of forged aluminum alloys in the automotive and aerospace industries.

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Electrical Conductivity Meter: The Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

 

Ever wondered what an electrical conductivity meter is and what it does?

Sometimes, when NDT technicians need to detect flaws in a non-ferrous material like aluminum or copper, they often rely on metal conductivity measurement. The reason is that the electrical conductivity of metals often changes with the presence of impurities that may result in a flaw in the metal. However, using a suitable measuring tool like metal conductivity meter is critical to accurately assessing the sample material under examination. Additionally, the electrical conductivity meter offers many benefits as an NDT device.

This guide gives you all the information you need to know about an electrical conductivity meter and its benefits.

So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in together.

I. What is Metal Conductivity Meter

For starters, an electrical conductivity meter is a non-destructive testing device that measures the ability of non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper, and titanium to conduct electric current. Sometimes this ability is referred to as electrical conductivity. But more importantly, the electrical conductivity of non-ferrous metals is an important parameter that helps assess the properties of these materials, including their strength. 

Perhaps the most common application of this device is in assessing the strength of tempered or heat-treated materials and the strength of hardened materials. Likewise, it is also very suitable for confirming the consistency of alloys, ascertaining the authenticity of coin alloys, and sorting materials. 

But clearly, the challenge is often in evaluating the electrical conductivity of these metals and alloys.

Electrical Conductivity Meter EE0011

II. How to Evaluate the Electrical Conductivity of Metals?

To put things in perspective, the electrical conductivity of metals relies on the arrangement of ions within a symmetrically-distributed crystal grid structure, making it possible for charges to move around. However, metal will only conduct electricity if free-charged ions are within this grid structure. Nevertheless, you can evaluate the electrical conductivity of metals using one of two methods: the traditional electric bridge method and the eddy current method. 

  1. Traditional electric bridge method

For this method, you will need to pull the metal into a wire, intercept a section of the arrangement, and finally bridge the connection to ascertain the electrical conductivity of the object. But sadly, the many disadvantages associated with this method of assessing metal conductivity often make it unpopular and sometimes impractical. For instance, the many cumbersome operating processes involved with this method. Also, it is a time-consuming method and involves intense labor. But that’s not all. The accuracy of the result of the traditional electric bridge method is not always guaranteed and, as such, not the best method. 

  1. Eddy current method

On the other hand, this method uses an eddy current often described as a localized circular electric current generated in a conductor, usually by adjusting its magnetic field. In any case, an eddy current method uses an electrical industry’s conductivity requirement to measure the conductivity of non-ferrous metals. Fortunately, this method has numerous advantages over other techniques, including easy implementation, accurate results, wide application, including quality control checks for production line’s enterprise and research institutions. 

III. What are the Advantages of an Electrical Conductivity Tester for Metals?

As a non-destructive testing device, an electrical conductivity meter for aluminum is packed with many benefits, one of which is its numerous applications across various industries. Additionally, other advantages include:

  • The use of a microprocessor for data processing ensures detection accuracy. 
  • Its LCD count machine allows for easy visualization and viewing of error-free readings.
  • It is effective for small-sized readings that are stable and non-fluctuating due to its integrated circuit.
  • For calibration, it is equipped with digital circuit data acquisition and processing, making repetitive periodic calibration unnecessary.  
  • It ensures detection accuracy and temperature compensation using digital signal acquisition a thousand times in the first minute with minimal changes in temperature.
  • It supports automation possibilities with high durability tendencies.
  • The fact that it is an NDT detection method makes it cost-effective like most NDT methods coupled with continuous testing of the same target object. 
  • It tests for conductivity before aluminum anode oxidation.
  • It is an effective method for avoiding erroneous measurement of high conductivity results as it does not significantly heat the object, seeing that the exposure to the applied voltage is for a short period.

IV. What are Some Important Considerations in Eddy Current Conductivity Meter Testing?

If you must get an accurate result while performing conductivity meter testing with eddy currents, then some necessary considerations and requirements need to be in place. You will need to pay critical attention to these requirements to avoid irregularities in your results. 

  1. Correct positioning is crucial to getting an accurate result, while calibrations are also critical
  2. Metal conductivity is significantly impacted by temperature fluctuations, and a change in ambient temperature from the conventional 20°C can be the difference between accurate results and incorrect ones. Hence, it would be best to equip your conductivity probes with a temperature sensor. 
  3. You should also pay close attention to the thickness of the material as it plays a critical part in measuring conductivity. The current’s depth should be chosen appropriately using a probe frequency to ensure that adequate current flows through the material 
  4. Operating technique of the measuring device is also crucial, so it is important to ensure that the device probe has a vertical orientation when in use. Also, you can employ a stand to assist in lowering the probe for accurate results.

Conclusion

So, here’s what all these mean. One very accurate NDT method of ascertaining and identifying the presence of flaws, especially for non-ferrous metal, is using its electrical conductivity properties. However, you’ll need to use an effective tool like an electrical conductivity meter which relies on the eddy current evaluation method. But what’s more important is to pay critical attention to important factors like positioning, temperature change, material thickness, and operating technique. 

So, there you have it. But now that you know all this information, what is your next move?

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