Transducers work by measuring energy (usually electrical) found in a system, and converting this into another energy form, such as sound. In many applications, several transducers are needed to achieve the desired results. For example, in ultrasound imaging, a transducer converts electrical energy into ultrasound or high energy sound waves, which are then focused on a patient’s body. The sound waves travel back to the machine, where another transducer converts them back into electrical signals, producing the images seen on the monitor.
In selecting a transducer, certain characteristics must be considered. First, a transducer has to be very rugged, which means it has to withstand power overloads through safety stops.
Second, a transducer must be reliable enough to give accurate measurements even with changes in temperature, vibration, and environmental conditions. It also must have good mechanical properties to avoid mechanical hysteresis, which is an effect of aging; and viscous creep, or the low viscosity of the material in the transducer itself.
Third, the transducer must be simple enough to use. Data regarding input-output characteristics must display quickly and in a straightforward manner, so that the user no longer has to fumble around the device or make additional calculations just to interpret the results. An ideal transducer is also one that comes with features that minimize noise, distortions, and other defects.