# Department of Electrical Engineering

Electronic Systems
Sensing, Computing, Actuating
Sander Stuijk
(s.stuijk@tue.nl)

2
THERMORESISTIVE SENSORS
AND ERROR SOURCES
(Chapter 2.1, 2.2, 4.14)

3
Engine coolant temperature sensor

4
Resistance
 resistance of a material is defined as

 resistance depends on temperature
 number of free electrons (n)
 mean time between collisions (τ)

 resistive temperature detector (RTD)
 temperature-resistance relation
 α is called the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR)

 TCR indicates relative change in
resistance per unit temperature
 TCR is not equal to the sensitivity

i
V
R =
a
l
ne
m
a
l
R
t
µ
2
= =
( )] 1 [
0 0
T T R R
T
÷ + = o
0 0
0
) ( R T T
R R
R
dT dR
T
T
T
÷
÷
= = o
PT100 RTD

5
Self-heating in RTDs
 current must be passed through sensor to measure resistance
 power will be dissipated in the RTD creating heat (self-heating)

 effect of self-heating reduced by thermal dissipation to environment
 heat dissipation factor δ (W/K) depends on
 surrounding fluid
 velocity of the fluid
 temperature error given by

 self-heating error can be limited by dimensioning the current I

R

I

P
D
= I
2
R

o o
R I P
T
D
2
= = A

6
Self-heating in RTDs
example – PT100 sensor R(T)=R
0
[1+ α
0
(T-T
0
)]
 R
0
= 100 Ω, α
0
= 0.00389 (Ω/Ω)/K at 0°C
 sensor used in range [0°C, +100°C]
 δ = 6 mW/K (in air), V
r
= 5 V, R
2
= 1 kΩ
 what is the maximal self-heating error (resolution) of this
sensor?
 temperature PT100 above environment
 current I depends on resistance R
1
and temperature T

 maximal current when T = 0°C, but minimal resistance
 temperature error depends on power dissipation
 maximal power dissipation when T = 100°C
 maximal self-heating error occurs when T = 100°C

R
2
V
r
R
1
v
o
o o
1
2
R I P
T
D
= = A
( ) ( )
2 0 0 0 2 1
1 R T T R
V
R R
V
I
r r
+ ÷ +
=
+
=
o

7
Self-heating in RTDs
example – PT100 sensor R(T)=R
0
[1+ α
0
(T-T
0
)]
 R
0
= 100 Ω, α
0
= 0.00389 (Ω/Ω)/K at 0°C
 sensor used in range [0°C, +100°C]
 δ = 6 mW/K (in air), V
r
= 5 V, R
2
= 1 kΩ
 what is the maximal self-heating error (resolution) of this
sensor?
 temperature PT100 above environment
 maximal self-heating error occurs when T = 100°C

R
2
V
r
R
1
v
o
o o
1 1
2
2
1
2
1
2
2
2 1
2
R
R V
R
R
R R
V
T
r r
~
+ +
= A
( ) O =139 100 C R

C T

5 . 0 = A ¬
¦
)
¦
`
¹
o o
1
2
R I P
T
D
= = A

dominates when R
1
<< R
2

8
 resistance of the wires will affect measured voltage

 temperature error due to lead-wire resistance when interface circuit
provides constant current i

 example – PT100
 PT100 has resistance of 107.8Ω at 20°C and α = 0.389Ω/K
 assume R
L
= 1Ω
 ΔT = +5.1°C → interface circuit measures temperature of 25°C
 measured temperature 25% above actual temperature

R
L
PT100
interface
circuit
sensor
i
R
L
V
out
V
PT100
100 2 PT R R
L
+ =
o
0
R
R
T
A
= A
L
R R 2 = A ¬
o
0
2
R
R
T
L
= A ¬
¦
)
¦
`
¹

9
 resistance of the wires will affect measured voltage

 lead wire resistance can be cancelled with 4-wire sensing method
 interface circuit has high impedance

 4-wire sensing method requires stable current source
 6-wire sensing method can be used with stable voltage source

R
L
PT100
interface
circuit
sensor
i
R
L
V
out
V
PT100
R
L
PT100
interface
circuit
sensor
i=0
R
L
V
out
V
PT100
R
L
i
R
L
i=0
current
source
100 PT out
V V =
i R V V
L PT out
2
100
+ =

10
Summary - Resistive temperature detectors (RTDs)
 temperature-resistance relation
 α is called the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR)

 TCR indicates relative change in resistance per unit temperature
(between two reference temperatures)
 TCR is not equal to the sensitivity

 several error sources influencing accuracy
L
)
 self-heating (R
T
)
 non-linearity (R
T
)
m
)

( )] 1 [
0 0
T T R R
T
÷ + = o
0 0
0
) ( R T T
R R
R
dT dR
T
T
T
÷
÷
= = o
interface circuit
R
L
PT100
sensor
R
L
R
T Vr R
m

11
Interface circuits
 interface circuits can be used to
 increase sensor sensitivity
 linearization of the sensor output
 limit self-heating
 compensate for error sources (e.g. strain or temperature)
 set output voltage at reference point
 amplify sensor output for use with AD-converter
 ...

V
out
+
-

12
Resistive sensors
 resistance of resistive sensor
 f(x) – fractional change in resistance (with f(0) = 1)

 resistance of linear resistive sensor
 range of x depends on type of sensor
 [-1, 0] – linear potentiometer
 [1, 10] – RTDs
 [0.00001

, 0.001] – strain gauges
 [1, 100] – NTC thermistors
 [1, 10000] – switching PTC thermistors

 requirements on signal conditioners for resistive sensors
 electric voltage or current must be applied
 supply and output voltage/current are limited by self-heating
) (
0
x f R R =
( ) x R R + = 1
0

13
 resistive sensor connected to Norton equivalent circuit
 sensor driven by current source

 when does maximal self-heating error occur?
 dissipation maximal when R is maximal

 deflection measurement with current source
 feedback loop enforces constant current

 output of a linear sensor

 choose R
0
= R
r
then
 output consists of offset and (small) fluctuation around offset
Resistive sensors – current excitation
r
r
r
R
V
I =
( ) x R
R
V
R I v
r
r
r o
+ = = 1
0
( )
r r r o
xV V x V v + = + = 1
R
o
R I
o
R
V
r
R
r
v
o
I
r
+
-

14
example – circuit for temperature measurement [20°C,100°C]
 measure temperature with 0.1°C resolution (self-heating < 0.1°C)
 PT 100 sensor (R
0
=100Ω and α=0.00389Ω/Ω/K at 0°C)
 dissipation factor δ = 40mW/K in 0.4m/s water
 reference voltage V
r
= 5V
 what resistance should R
r
have to get a sensitivity of 1mV/°C?
 temperature resolution limited by self-heating

 maximal dissipation at 100°C, condition is thus

Resistive sensors – current excitation
o
R I
r
2
T
R
R
V
r
r
A =
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
o
2
C

1 . 0 <
) 1 . 0 (
100
C
R
V R
r r

·
>
o
( ) ( )
( )
O =
° · + O =
÷ + =
9 . 138
100 00389 . 0 1 100
1
0 0 100
C
T T R R o
( ) O =
·
O
> ¬
¦
¦
¦
)
¦
¦
¦
`
¹
932
) 1 . 0 ( ) / 40 (
9 . 138
5
C K mW
V R
r

R
V
r
R
r
v
o
I
r
+
-

15
example – circuit for temperature measurement [20°C,100°C]
 measure temperature with 0.1°C resolution (self-heating < 0.1°C)
 PT 100 sensor (R
0
=100Ω and α=0.00389Ω/Ω/K at 0°C)
 dissipation factor δ = 40mW/K in 0.4m/s water
 reference voltage V
r
= 5V
 what resistance should R
r
have to get a sensitivity of 1mV/°C?
 output voltage of the sensor

 sensitivity is equal to

 sensor output has also an offset (output not 0V at 20°C)

Resistive sensors – current excitation
( ) ( ) T R
R
V
x R
R
V
v
r
r
r
r
o
o + = + = 1 1
0 0
o
0
R
R
V
dT
dv
S
r
r o
= =
S
R V
R
r
r
o
0
= ¬ O =
O
= 1945
/ 1
) / 00389 . 0 )( 100 )( 5 (
K mV
K V
O = 8 . 107
20
R mV R
R
V
V
r
r
offset
277
20
~ = ¬
R
V
r
R
r
v
o
I
r
+
-

16
Interface circuits
 resistance of linear resistive sensor: R(x) = R
0
(1+x)
 range of x depends on type of sensor

 requirements on signal conditioners for resistive sensors
 electric voltage or current must be applied
 supply and output voltage/current are limited by self-heating

 current excitation
 maximal self-heating when R maximal
 maximal sensitivity when R maximal

 voltage excitation
 when does maximal self-heating error occur?
 when is sensitivity maximal?
 when is non-linearity error minimized?
R
o
R I
o
V
o
R
o
R

17
Voltage divider – self-heating error
 sensor driven by voltage source
 sensor: R
r

 when does maximal self-heating error occur?
 power consumption by sensor

 maximal power consumption occurs when

 self-heating error is maximal when R
r
= R

 power consumption is then equal to

R
r
V
r
R
v
o
R
R R
V
P
r
r
2
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
=
( )
2
2
2
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
+
+
÷
+
=
r
r
r
r
r
r
R R
V
R
R R
V
R R
V
dR
dP
r
r
r
r
R R
R R
R R
V
+
÷
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
=
2
0 = R R
r
= ¬
r
r
r
r r
r
R
V
R
R R
V
P
4
2
2
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
=

18
Voltage divider – self-heating error
example – dimension voltage divider for temperature measurement
 measure temperature from 0°C to 100°C
 PT 100 sensor (R
0
=100Ω and α=0.00389Ω/Ω/K at 0°C)
 maximal power dissipation in sensor is 1mW
 voltage source V
r
= 5V
 what resistance R
r
must be used for this voltage divider?
 power dissipation in sensor

 maximal dissipation when R=R
r

 sensor range is from 100Ω to 139Ω
 always R < R
r
, thus power dissipation always below limit
mW R
R R
V
r
r
1
2
<
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
mW R
R R
V
r
r r
r
1
2
<
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
W
V
R
r
r
001 . 0 2
2
·
> ¬
( )
O =
·
= k
W
V
25 . 6
001 . 0 2
5
2
R
r
V
r
R
v
o

19
Voltage divider – linearity
 measure fractional change in resistance x
 sensor: R = R
0
(1+x)
r
= R
0
k

 output voltage of the circuit

 response becomes linear when R
r
>> R (i.e. k >> 1+x)

r
r
o
V
R R
R
v
+
=
r
V
x R k R
x R
) 1 (
) 1 (
0 0
0
+ +
+
=
r
V
x k
x
+ +
+
=
1
1
R
r
V
r
R
v
o

20
Voltage divider – linearity
 increasing k is good for linearity, but what about sensitivity?
|v
o
/V
r
|
x
k=0.1
k=1
k=10
k=100
R
r
V
r
R
v
o

21
Voltage divider – sensitivity
 measure fractional change in resistance x
 sensor: R = R
0
(1+x)
r
= R
0
k

 sensitivity

 maximal sensitivity

 maximal sensitivity reached when R = R
r
 same situation as when self-heating error is maximal
 maximal transfer of power (at R = R
r
 maximal sensitivity and maximal self-heating
dx
dv
S
o
=
r r
V
x k
k
V
x k
x x k
2 2
) 1 ( ) 1 (
) 1 ( ) 1 (
+ +
=
+ +
+ ÷ + +
=
|
.
|

\
|
+ +
+
=
r
V
x k
x
dx
d
1
1
0 =
dk
dS
0
) 1 (
2
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ +
¬
r
V
x k
k
dk
d
0
) 1 (
1
) 1 (
) 1 ( 2 ) 1 (
3 4
2
=
+ +
÷ +
=
+ +
+ + ÷ + +
¬
x k
k x
x k
x k k x k
1 + = ¬ x k
R
r
V
r
R
v
o
( )
2
) (
) ( ' ) ( ) ( ) ( '
) (
) (
x h
x h x j x h x j
x h
x j
dx
d ÷
=
use quotient rule

22
Voltage divider – sensitivity and linearity
 for many sensors x < 1
 sensitivity largest for k = 1
 sensitivity may be considered constant if maximal value of x << 1
R
r
V
r
R
v
o
S
x
k=0.1
k=1
k=10
k=100

23
Voltage divider – output voltage
 maximal sensitivity when k = 1
 output voltage

 offset voltage present in output

R
r
V
r
R
v
o
r r o
V
x
x
V
x k
x
v
+
+
=
+ +
+
=
2
1
1
1