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Characteristics of a micro-mechanical thermal flow sensor based on a two hot wires principle with constant temperature operation in a small channel

: Lange, P.; Weiss, M.; Warnat, S.


Journal of micromechanics and microengineering 24 (2014), No.12, Art.125005
ISSN: 0960-1317
ISSN: 1361-6439
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISIT ()

A thermal mass flow sensor with high dynamic flow range in silicon bulk micromachining membrane technology is presented. The response behavior of this sensor based on a two hot wire principle is described. This sensor configuration uses two hot wires mounted closely spaced one behind the other within a thin membrane, kept at the same temperature. The power to compensate cooling of and the interaction between the two hot wires are used to calculate mass flows and directionality of flows of gaseous and liquid fluids in a small channel. The response shows both anemometric and calorimetric behavior, depending on fluid, channel height and flow range. The hot wires are heated relative to temperature sensors located also on an isolated membrane on the same chip. Choosing an appropriate evaluation procedure an independence of the signal from the ambient temperature is achieved. This configuration will be discussed in view of the published results of single heater flow sensors, being of calorimetric or anemometric type. A calculation method for the determination of linear and power law range of the response is given.