A load cell is a transducer (physical element) that converts mechanical force into electrical signal. There are several different types of load cells such as hydraulic, pneumatic, and strain gage that operate in different ways, but the most commonly used load cell today is the strain gage load cell. A typical load cell usually consists of four strain gages (full-bridge) in a Wheatstone bridge configuration.
There are several deformation modes in load cells:
- Bending – Active joystick, extensometers, infusion pump pressure.
- Direct Stress – Bolt in tension, suspension pushrod, silo leg.
- Shear/Torsion – Driveshaft, steering column.