Exploring water quality: Toroidal vs Contact conductivity sensors

18 April 2024


Conductivity measurement of water is crucial in environmental applications to assess water quality and detect contaminants, aiding in the protection of ecosystems and public health. Conductivity in water refers to its ability to conduct electrical current, influenced by the presence of dissolved ions like salts and minerals. Higher conductivity indicates more ions and often correlates with water contamination levels. It helps monitor changes in water chemistry due to natural processes or human activities, providing insights into pollution levels and ecosystem health. Additionally, conductivity data is essential for regulatory compliance, ensuring that water bodies meet environmental standards and sustainability goals. Among these sensors, contact conductivity sensors and toroidal conductivity sensors stand out with their distinct designs and applications, catering to different water conditions and conductivity levels.

Contact conductivity sensors use electrodes in direct contact with water, measuring conductivity by inducing an electric field between the electrodes. They are suitable for low-contaminant water but require more maintenance due to fouling. Toroidal conductivity sensors, on the other hand, utilize two metal toroids surrounded by a corrosion-resistant body, operating through induction to measure conductivity. They are ideal for corrosive or contaminated water, offering minimal maintenance requirements and greater durability compared to contact sensors. Toroidal sensors are preferred in harsh water conditions where fouling and polarization are concerns, while contact sensors are more suited to applications with low conductivity and lower contaminants.

HydroTerra has worked on various projects where high saline conditions have meant it is no longer feasible to use common contact conductivity sensors, and as such have deployed toroidal sensors for environmental monitoring. These toroidal sensors can be integrated into our bespoke telemetry packages for salinity / conductivity measurement for your required application.

For any projects involving high saline and corrosive conditions, please speak to one of our sales team. Call us on +61 (3) 8683 0091.