Pressure Sensors: Five Types to Know

A pressure sensor is a device capable of converting pressure into an electrical signal. They have a wide range of uses in many different applications, so the type of pressure sensor you are using for a given task matters. For example, a pressure sensor that does a good job of measuring oil and gas may not be ideal for measuring hydraulic fluids. Prior to purchasing a pressure sensor, it is important to consider all types to determine which one will best suit your needs.

The first type of pressure sensor is the chemical vapor deposition pressure sensor. Chemical Vapor Deposition, or CVD, is a process used to produce highly stable strain gauge pressure transducers. This process offers a reliable option where many other low-cost pressure sensors would fail. Within each of these transducers is an ASIC chip which offers high levels of linearity correction. CVD pressure sensors are ideal for applications including off-highway, HVAC, and semiconductor processing. Pressure transducers of this type also have a thicker diaphragm, allowing them to handle intense pulsating pressures.

A second type of pressure sensor is the sputtered thin film pressure sensor. Of all types, these are the most dependable. They are known for their long-term durability and high accuracy, even in harsh conditions. Depending on the application, sensors of this type are available in ranges from 0-100 to 0-30,000 PSI. Sputtered thin film pressure sensors offer unrivaled performance in volatile environmental scenarios including high temperatures, intense shock & vibration, and massive pressure spikes. They are fit for applications such as off-highway, fire protection, refrigeration, and alternative fuel.

The next type of pressure sensor, variable capacitance pressure sensors, are ideal when you need a dependable means of measuring low pressure. These are available in ranges from 0-2 PSI to 0-15 PSI, allowing them to accommodate many applications. Their unique characteristics include a sturdy physical configuration, stainless steel & ceramic wetted parts, and variable capacitor technology. They can also be used for high pressure applications such as industrial engines, hydraulic systems, process control, and natural gas pipelines.

The fourth type of pressure sensors are ideal for applications with high shock and vibration. These are solid-state pressure sensors. They are switches featuring a hermetic stainless steel diaphragm. These sensors provide high accuracy measurements where tight system controls are needed, and are more advantageous than electromechanical pressure switches when actuations exceed fifty cycles per minute. They are used in the off-highway, medical, gas, compressor, and other industrial applications.

The final type of pressure sensors are micro machined silicon (MMS) strain gauge sensors. These offer a cost effective solution for low pressures in absolute, compound, and gauge references. MMS pressure sensors feature stainless steel parts in addition to an all-welded construction that is resistant to harsh environments and chemicals. They are most commonly used in applications such as air conditioning refrigerant recovery, gas analysis instrumentation, and medical sterilizers.


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