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A new edge-detected lift force flow sensor

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3 Author(s)
N. Svedin ; Inst. of Technol., Dept. of Signals, Sensors & Syst., Stockholm, Sweden ; E. Kalvesten ; G. Stemme

A lift force gas flow sensor which uses the force normal to the fluid flow to measure the flow velocity has recently been introduced. Two thin plates mounted at an angle are deflected when they are subjected to fluid flow. For most mechanical flow sensors the flow sensitivity is closely connected to the time response. A weaker structure gives higher flow sensitivity but a lower natural frequency, i.e., a slower response time. The lift force sensor is designed for measurements of respiratory gas flow in ventilators, where, in addition to low flow restriction, both high sensitivity and fast response are required. A new type of suspension has now been realized for the lift force flow sensor. The detection is separated from the suspension of the airfoil plate with the strain gauges placed on separate detector beams. This leads to separate parameters for optimization of the lift force concept with "independent" control of flow sensitivity and natural frequency. This paper presents an analytical model, simulations and measurements on the new structure. The new edge-detected sensor has been experimentally evaluated for different lengths (100-600 μm), widths (20-100 μm) and thicknesses (8-20 μm) of the detector beams. In accordance with the theory, the measurements show that the new structure has approximately three times the natural frequency of the old, center detected structure and similar or improved flow sensitivity. The evaluation has also resulted in a design scheme for optimal performance. A flow sensitivity of 0.65 μV/V/(l/min)2 has been obtained for the best edge-detected sensor with a natural frequency of 3.2 kHz.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )