Apparatus for ultrasonic transducer or other contact sensor placement against a test material

Patent No. 8,683,882

Issued: April 1, 2014
Filed: September 23, 2011
Term Extension: 188 days

Inventor: Todd Jackson (Pittsford, NY)
Assignee:  Ascent Ventures, LLC (Pittsford, NY)

A spherical bearing provides a passive apparatus that enables a contact sensor that needs to self-align to the surface of a test object. In some embodiments, the contact sensor is a transducer. This self-alignment apparatus may be used in a measurement system for aligning the face of a contact transducer to the surface of a material to be measured. The spherical bearing may be dry or may be lubricated with a liquid or with pressurized air to minimize the bearing friction and enable the transducer to self-align. The upper portion of the spherical bearing is preferably attached to a spring-loaded piston. The transducer is preferably attached to the lower portion of the spherical bearing. The spring-loaded piston holds the spherical bearing portions together and centers the floating lower bearing portion after each measurement operation. A cowling preferably retains the lower bearing portion between measurements.

Reference to Related Applications

The subject matter of this application is related to the subject matter in a co-pending application entitled "ULTRASONIC TRANSDUCER WEAR CAP", filed on the same day as the present application, now issued as US Patent 8,841,823. The aforementioned application is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

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