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Sensors 2013, 13(8), 10944-10953; doi:10.3390/s130810944

Minimum Detectable Air Velocity by Thermal Flow Sensors

IMSAS (Institute for Microsensors, Actuators and Systems), Microsystems Center Bremen (MCB), University of Bremen, Otto-Hahn-Allee, Bld. NW1, Bremen D-28359, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 June 2013 / Revised: 29 July 2013 / Accepted: 14 August 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Miniaturized thermal flow sensors have opened the doors for a large variety of new applications due to their small size, high sensitivity and low power consumption. Theoretically, very small detection limits of air velocity of some micrometers per second are achievable. However, the superimposed free convection is the main obstacle which prevents reaching these expected limits. Furthermore, experimental investigations are an additional challenge since it is difficult to generate very low flows. In this paper, we introduce a physical method, capable of generating very low flow values in the mixed convection region. Additionally, we present the sensor characteristic curves at the zero flow case and in the mixed convection region. Results show that the estimated minimum detectable air velocity by the presented method is 0.8 mm/s. The equivalent air velocity to the noise level of the sensor at the zero flow case is about 0.13 mm/s.
Keywords: minimum detectable flow; natural convection; noise; mixed convection region; thermal flow sensors minimum detectable flow; natural convection; noise; mixed convection region; thermal flow sensors
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Issa, S.; Lang, W. Minimum Detectable Air Velocity by Thermal Flow Sensors. Sensors 2013, 13, 10944-10953.

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