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Diaphragm elements are made of circular metal discs or flexible elements such as rubber, plastic or leather. The material from which the diaphragm is made depends on whether it takes advantage of the elastic nature of the material, or is opposed by another element (such as a spring). Diaphragms made of metal discs utilize elastic characteristics, while those made of flexible elements are opposed by another elastic element. These diaphragm sensors are very sensitive to rapid pressure changes. The metal type can measure a maximum pressure of approximately 7 MPa, while the elastic type is used for measuring extremely low pressures (.1 kPa - 2.2 MPa) when connected to capacitative transducers or differential pressure sensors. Examples of diaphragms include flat, corrugated and capsule diaphragms. As previously noted, diaphragms are very sensitive (0.01 MPa) . They can measure fractional pressure differences over a very minute range (say, inches of water) (elastic type) or large pressure differences (approaching a maximum range of 207 kPa) (metal type). Diaphragm elements are very versatile -- they are commonly used in very corrosive environments or with extreme over-pressure situations.
Diaphragms are popular because they require less space and because the motion (or force) they produce is sufficient for operating electronic transducers
Strain gauge pressure sensor
The strain gauge detects changes in pressure by measuring the change in resistance of a Wheatstone bridge circuit. In general, this circuit is used to determine an unknown electrical resistance by balancing two sections of a bridge circuit such that the ratio of resistances in one section ( ) is the same as that in the other section( ), resulting in a zero reading in the galvanometer in the center branch. One of the sections contains the unknown component of which the resistance is to be determined, while the other section contains a resistor of known resistance that can be varied. The Wheatstone bridge circuit is shown below:
4 3. A pressure change would either elongate or compress the wire. Resistance is governed by the equation where ρ = resistivity of the wire. . which moves with a change in pressure. L = length of the wire. These gauges are frequently a type of semiconductor (N-type or P-type). This makes use of strain-sensitive wires one end fixed to an immobile frame and the other end attached to a movable element. however. and A = cross-sectional area of the wire. These gauges are affected greatly by variations in temperature (unlike the other types of electrical components). hence a compression sensor is needed on one resistor and an elongation sensor on the other. a blank sensor would be placed on the remaining two resistors.1400 MPa with a sensitivity of 1. To control the effects of temperature (a wire would also either elongate or compress with a change in temperature). An example of an unbonded strain gauge is shown below. with greater sensitivity comes a more narrow functional range: the temperature must remain constant to obtain a valid reading.5MPa. their sensitivity is much greater than their metal counterparts. Thus. The pressure range is 0 .The strain gauge places sensors on each of the resistors and measures the change in resistance of each individual resistor due to a change in pressure.
0. They lack sensitivity in meausurement.An example of a bonded strain gauge can be seen below. though. These absolute pressure measuring sensors are very efficient: they produce repeatable results and are not affected by temperature greatly. . so they would not be ideal for a process in which minute pressures need monitoring. Pressure affects this mechanism by affecting the wire itself: an increase in pressure decreases the tension within the wire and thus lowers the angular frequency of oscillation of the wire. A current is passed through a wire which induces an electromotive force within the wire. which deforms with change in pressure.3 MPa with a sensitivity of 1E-5 MPa. Vibrating Element Vibrating element pressure sensors function by measuring a change in resonant frequency of a vibrating element.0035 . This is placed on top of a diaphragm. The pressure range is 0. The force is then amplified and causes oscillation of the wire. The sensor is housed in a cylinder under vacuum when measuring absolute pressures. straining the wires attached to the diaphragm.