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Electrical capacitance tomography

Electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) is a method for determination of the dielectric permittivity distribution in the interior of an object from external capacitance measurements. It is a close relative of electrical impedance tomography and is proposed as a method for industrial process monitoring, although it has yet to see widespread use. Potential applications include the measurement of flow of fluids in pipes and measurement of the concentration of one fluid in another, or the distribution of a solid in a fluid.

Additional recommended knowledge

Although capacitance sensing methods were in widespread use the idea of using capacitance measuremnet to form images is attributed to Maurice Beck and co-workers at UMIST in the 1980s.

Although usually called tomography, the technique differs from conventional tomographic methods, in which high resolution images are formed of slices of a material. The measurement electrodes, which are metalic plates, must be sufficiently large to give a measureable change in capactiance. This means that very few electrodes are used and eight or twelve electrodes is common. An N-eleectrode system can only provide N(N-1)/2 independent measurements. This means that the technique is limited to producing very low resolution images of approximate slices. However, ECT is fast, and relatively inexpensive.


  • S M Huang, A Plaskowski, C G Xie and M S Beck, Capacitance-based tomographic flow imaging system, Electronics Letters, 24 (7), 1988, pp 418-419.
  • W Q Yang, Hardware design of electrical capacitance tomography systems, Meas. Sci. Technol., 7 (3), 1996, pp 225-232
  • M Soleimani, W R B Lionheart, Nonlinear image reconstruction in electrical capacitance tomography using experimental data, Meas. Sci. Technol., 16, 2005, pp 1987-1996
  • W Q Yang and L H Peng, Image reconstruction algorithms for electrical capacitance tomography, Meas. Sci. Technol., 14, 2003, pp R1-R13 (invited review article)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Electrical_capacitance_tomography". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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