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The object of pressure sensing is to produce a dial indication, control operation or a standard (4
- 20 mA) electronic signal that represents the pressure in a process. To accomplish this, most
pressure sensors translate pressure into physical motion that is in proportion to the applied
pressure. The most common pressure sensors or primary pressure elements are described
They include diaphragms, pressure bellows, bourdon tubes and pressure capsules. With these
pressure sensors, physical motion is proportional to the applied pressure within the operating

For large industrial process plants such as generating stations where central control

rooms are used, electronic signals are preferred.

The accepted industrial standard for electronic signals is a 4 to 20 mA current signal that

represents 0% to 100% process condition.

A live zero (4 mA) is used to distinguish-between 0% process (4 mA) and an interrupted
signal loop (0 mA).


An electronic transmitter can be considered as a variable resistor with resistance altered

by the process condition.

When used in series with a constant voitage power suppiy, a 4 - 20 rnA current will be

pioduced in the loop.

From Ohm's Law, I =VIR
By varying the resistance while the power supply voltage is kept at a constant value, the

amount of current in a loop can be manipulated.

The same two wires that power the transmitter also carry the signal.
Using a current signal minimizes the number of wires needed and the effect of
background noise.

Readout devices which are either current or voltage sensitive provide a signal indication.
To get a direct indication of the current signal, a milli-ammeter can be connected in

series in the loop.

Alternatively, a voltmeter can be connected in parallel with a dropping resistor.

Valves require little pressure to operate and usually double or triple the input force. The larger
the size of the piston, the larger the output pressure can be. Having a larger piston can also be
good if air supply is low, allowing the same forces with less input. These pressures are large
enough to crush objects in the pipe. On 100 kPa input, you could lift a small car (upwards of
1,000 lbs) easily, and this is only a basic, small pneumatic valve. However, the resulting forces
required of the stem would be too great and cause the valve stem to fail.
This pressure is transferred to the valve stem, which is hooked up to either the valve plug
(see plug valve), butterfly valve etc. Larger forces are required in high pressure or high flow
pipelines to allow the valve to overcome these forces, and allow it to move the valves moving
parts to control the material flowing inside.
Valves input pressure is the "control signal." This can come from a variety of measuring devices,
and each different pressure is a different set point for a valve. A typical standard signal is 20
100 kPa. For example, a valve could be controlling the pressure in a vessel which has a
constant out-flow, and a varied in-flow (varied by the actuator and valve). A pressure transmitter

will monitor the pressure in the vessel and transmit a signal from 20100 kPa. 20 kPa means
there is no pressure, 100 kPa means there is full range pressure (can be varied by the
transmiters calibration points). As the pressure rises in the vessel, the output of the transmitter
rises, this increase in pressure is sent to the valve, which causes the valve to stroke downward,
and start closing the valve, decreasing flow into the vessel, reducing the pressure in the vessel
as excess pressure is evacuated through the out flow. This is called a direct acting process.

A pneumatic process sensor is coupled to a transmitter to monitor a process variable

The output signal of the pneumatic transmitter is air pressure, the magnitude of which is

directly proportional to the process variable being monitored.

The standard industrial range for pneumatic signals is 20 to 100 kpa(g) which

corresponds to a 0% to 100% process condition (kPa(g) =kPa above atmospheric).

Note that the transmitter output does not start at 0 kPa(g), but at 20 kPa(g).
This 20 kpa(g) output is called a live zero
A live zero allows control room staff to distinguish between a valid process condition of
0% (a 20 kpa(g) reading) and a disabled transmitter or interrupted pressure line (a 0
kpa(g) reading).

The basic operation of the op amp can be easily summarized. First we assume that there is a
portion of the output that is fed back to the inverting terminal to establish the fixed gain for the
amplifier. This is negative feedback. Any differential voltage across the input terminals of the op
amp is multiplied by the amplifiers open-loop gain. If the magnitude of this differential voltage is
more positive on the inverting (-) terminal than on the noninverting (+) terminal, the output will
go more negative. If the magnitude of the differential voltage is more positive on the
noninverting (+) terminal than on the inverting (-) terminal, the output voltage will become more
positive. The open-loop gain of the amplifier will attempt to force the differential voltage to zero.
As long as the input and output stays in the operational range of the amplifier, it will keep the
differential voltage at zero, and the output will be the input voltage multiplied by the gain set by
the feedback.

An operational amplifier (or an op-amp) is an integrated circuit (IC) that operates as a voltage
amplifier. An op-amp has a differential input. That is, it has two inputs of opposite polarity. An opamp has a single output and a very high gain, which means that the output signal is much
higher than input signal. An op-amp is often represented in a circuit diagram with the following

These amplifiers are called "operation" amplifiers because they were initially designed as an
effective device for performing arithmetic operations in an analog circuit. The op-amp has many
other applications in signal processing, measurement, and instrumentation.