Clinometer – principle, working and uses of a clinometer

Clinometer – principle, working and uses of a clinometer

Definition of Clinometer : 

A clinometer or inclinometer is an instrument for measuring angles of slope (or tilt), elevation or depression of an object with respect to gravity. It is also known as a tilt indicator, tilt sensor, tilt meter, slope alert, slope gauge, gradient meter, gradiometer, level gauge, level meter, declinometer, and pitch & roll indicator.

what is a Clinometer :

Clinometers are measuring devices that may be used in several different professions. Also known as an inclinometer, the essential function of the device is to determine accurate measurements as they relate to sloping, height and distance. The clinometer is often used in the profession of meteorology, as well as in forestry and surveying.

One of the most common applications of the clinometer has to do with measuring angles as they relate to the slope of natural formations or buildings and other human construction projects. The idea is to measure the angle with an eye toward identifying any amount of slope, with respect to the gravity that is involved. The clinometer may be used to measure both inclines and declines, based on the perspective of the individual calculating the measurements.

Read More : Autocollimator – working Principle and Application

Clinometer principle :
A clinometer is a special case of application of spirit level for measuring, in the vertical plane, the incline of a surface in relation to the basic horizontal plane, over an extended range. The main functional element of a clinometer is the sensitive vial mounted on a rotatable disc, which carries a graduated ring with its horizontal axis supported in the housing of the instrument. The bubble of the vial is in its centre position, when the clinometer is placed on a horizontal surface and the scale of the rotatable disc is at zero position. If the clinometer is placed on an incline surface, the bubble deviates from the centre. It can be brought to the centre by rotating the disc. The rotation of the disc can be read on the scale. It represents the deviation of the surface over which the clinometer is placed from the horizontal plane. Figure  shows a diagram of a clinometer.

Clinometer Diagram : 

clinometer diagram
clinometer diagram

A number of commercially available clinometers with various designs are available. They differ in their sensitivity and measuring accuracy. Sensitivity and measuring accuracy of modern clinometers can be compared with any other high precision measuring instruments. For shop uses, clinometers with 10′ graduations are available.

Clinometer Applications

Two categories of measurement are possible with clinometer. Care must be taken to keep the axis of the rotatable disc parallel to the hinge line of the incline.

The two categories of measurement are :

(i) Measurement of an incline place with respect to a horizontal plane. As discussed earlier, this is done by placing the instrument on the surface to be measured and rotating graduated disc to produce zero inclination on the bubble. The scale value of the disc position will be equal to the angle of incline.

(ii) Measurement of the relative position of two mutually inclined surfaces. This is done by placing the clinometer on each of the surface in turn, and taking the readings with respect to the horizontal. The difference of both the readings will indicate the angular value of the relative incline.

Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

2 thoughts on “Clinometer – principle, working and uses of a clinometer

  1. You should include modern techniques such as closed loop servo inclinomters, MEMS , liquid capacitive clinommeters, etc. Also, inclinomters are used for a much wider range of applications than geophysics only.

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