Pressure Sensor Specifications

Pressure Sensor Specifications

Since pressure sensors have diverse applications, it has certain specifications that are adopted to make them work optimally in a given environment. A few of the major configurations are listed as under:
1. Measuring Range: This defines the minimum and maximum pressure between which the sensor is designed to operate without getting damaged. This criterion is more essential for differential and gauge sensors as their measurements are relative and if the reference pressure’s magnitude is beyond their range, they will not work.
2. Operating Temperature: It is the range of temperature under which the sensor works optimally. It is always required to make the sensor work in the defined temperature range so that the output is consistent. In the ambient conditions are extremely hot or cold, the sensors may not work properly. This is applied specially in the case of electronic pressure sensors which are used in touch screen computers and other devices.
3. Dimensions of the sensor: Based on the application, the size of the sensor would vary according to the type of area where pressure needs to be sensed. Hence, dimensions of the sensor are an important consideration while sensors design. Usually, sensors which are small in size are preferred as they can be easily installed at difficult places such as air filters.
4. Measurement Type: It is also important for the user to know which type of pressure measurement is been made by the sensor: absolute, gauge or differential. This is because different measurement techniques are followed by different processing methods and hence the outputs will vary accordingly.
5. Accuracy: Differential pressure measurements are the best way to make a sensor as accurate as possible. This is because the reference pressure is more under the control of the user than the atmosphere which is the case in gauge pressure measurement.
6. Repeatability: This can be defined as the ability of the sensor to produce the same result when a specific amount of pressure is applied on it again and again. Repeatability forms one of the most crucial specifications of a sensor. Since sensors are range specific, the probability that they will be calibrated at the same pressure is high, hence results should be reproduced by the sensor for the same amount of pressure time and again.
7. Type of Output Generated: The electrical output generated by the sensor can be of various types depending on its design and what the ultimate output device is. Some known formats in which output is being generated are analog voltage; analog current, digital signal (TTL), RS 232 interface and frequency shift keying based HART protocol.
8. Response Time: This denotes the time spent between the inputs applied and the output achieved. Pressure sensors are expected to have a small response time so that instant outputs can be generated and in the case of quick pressure variations, the system can respond swiftly too.
9. Offset Voltage: Offset voltage can be termed as the output voltage generated when no input is applied. In the case of differential sensors, offset voltages are generated when no reference pressure is there and in case of gauge pressure, it is generated when ambient pressure is applied to the sensor. Offset voltages are needed to reduce the error in the output and final outputs are calculated after subtracting offset voltages from them.
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2nd Nov 2015 A. Hedayatnejad

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