Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Dr. Jun Yang


Inductive angular position sensors (IAPS) are widely used for high accuracy and low cost angular position sensing in harsh automotive environments, such as suspension height sensor and throttle body position sensor. These sensors ensure high resolution and long lifetime due to their contactless sensing mode and their simple structure. Furthermore, they are suitable for wider application areas. For instance, they can be miniaturized to fit into a compact packaging space, or be adopted to measure the relative angle of multiple rotating targets for the purposes of torque sensing. In this work, a detailed SIMULINK model of an IAPS is first proposed in order to study and characterize the sensor performance. The model is validated by finite element analysis and circuit simulation, which provides a powerful design tool for sensor performance analysis. The sensor error introduced by geometry imperfection is thoroughly investigated for two-phase and three-phase configurations, and a corresponding correction method to improve the accuracy is proposed. A design optimization method based on the response surface methodology is also developed and used in the sensor development. Three types of sensors are developed to demonstrate the inductive sensor technology. The first type is the miniaturized inductive sensor. To compensate for the weak signal strength and the reduced quality (Q) factor due to the scaling down effect, a resonant rotor is developed for this type of sensor. This sensor is fabricated by using the electrodeposition technique. The prototype shows an 8mm diameter sensor can function well at 1.5mm air gap. The second type is a steering torque sensor, which is designed to detect the relative torsional angle of a rotating torsional shaft. It demonstrates the mutual coupling of multiple inductive sensors. By selecting a proper layout and compensation algorithm, the torque sensor can achieve 0.1 degree accuracy. The third type is a passive inductive sensor, which is designed to reduce power consumption and electromagnetic emissions. The realization and excellent performance of these three types of sensors have shown the robustness of the inductive sensor technology and its potential applications. The research conducted in this dissertation is expected to improve understanding of the performance analysis of IAPS and provide useful guidelines for the design and performance optimization of inductive sensors.