Just like a drill won’t work with a nail, the type of pressure sensor you’re using for a given application matters. What performs well when measuring oil and gas, for example, may not be the best fit for hydraulics.
That’s why it’s key to survey the range of pressure sensor types to best suit your needs before making a decision. For our purposes, we’ll define “pressure sensor” as a device capable of converting pressure into an electrical signal. Under that umbrella, we’ll include transducers and switches, which both assist with pressure sensing.
To explore the different types of pressure sensors available, we wanted to call out some specific examples and talk a little about their functionality.
Strain Gauge - Chemical Vapor Deposition
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is a process utilized to manufacture very stable strain gauge pressure transducers. The CVD process provides a reliable option where so many other low-cost pressure sensors fail. Inside each of these transducers, resides an ASIC chip, which offers higher levels of linearity correction. CVDs are great for applications such as off-highway, HVAC, and semiconductor processing. In addition, the CVD transducers offer a thicker diaphragm which makes it capable of handling intense pulsating pressures.
Strain Gauge - Sputtered Thin Film
Of all the various types of pressure sensors, Sputtered Thin Film strain gauges are some of the most dependable, known for their long-term durability and pinpoint accuracy even under extremely harsh conditions. Depending on its job, these types of sensors can be ordered in ranges from 0-100 through 0-30,000 PSI. The product offers unmatched performance in volatile environmental scenarios such as high temperatures, intense shock and vibration, or massive pressure spikes. Sputtered Thin Film sensors are an ideal fit for applications such as off highway, fire protection, refrigeration, and alternative fuel.
When you need a tough, dependable way to measure low pressure, capacitive transducers are the way to go. These sensors can be ordered in ranges from 0-2 PSI through 0-15 PSI to accommodate a range of applications including marine tank level indication. They boast a sturdy, physical configuration, stainless steel and ceramic wetted parts, and variable capacitor technology. Capacitive sensors can also be used for high pressure in applications from industrial engines to hydraulic systems, process control to natural gas pipelines.
If your application’s needs deal with elements of high shock and vibration, Solid-State Switches are an excellent choice. These switches are built with a hermetic all stainless steel diaphragm and provide high accuracy measurements where tight system controls are necessary. They also offer an advantage over electromechanical switches in cases where actuations exceed 50 cycles per minute. Applications for Solid-State Switches include off-highway, medical gas, compressors, and other demanding general industrial applications.
Micromachined silicon (MMS) strain gauge sensors offer very cost effective solution for low pressures in both absolute, compound, and gauge references. MMS sensors offer 316L stainless steel wetted parts and an all welded construction makes for a compact unit that is highly compatible to harsh chemicals and environments. Applications appropriate for MMS include air conditioning refrigerant recovery, gas analysis instrumentation, and medical sterilizers.
These are examples of the different types of pressure sensors you’ll find in the Gems portfolio, which support a range of different applications and functions. Whether it’s a differential pressure sensor or air pressure sensor, if you’re looking for some assistance determining which type is right for you, we’re here to help.