Sensors 2014, 14(1), 564-574; doi:10.3390/s140100564
Article

A Two-Dimensional Flow Sensor with Integrated Micro Thermal Sensing Elements and a Back Propagation Neural Network

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Received: 18 November 2013; in revised form: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract: This paper demonstrates a novel flow sensor with two-dimensional 360° direction sensitivity achieved with a simple structure and a novel data fusion algorithm. Four sensing elements with roundabout wires distributed in four quadrants of a circle compose the sensor probe, and work in constant temperature difference (CTD) mode as both Joule heaters and temperature detectors. The magnitude and direction of a fluid flow are measured by detecting flow-induced temperature differences among the four elements. The probe is made of Ti/Au thin-film with a diameter of 2 mm, and is fabricated using micromachining techniques. When a flow goes through the sensor, the flow-induced temperature differences are detected by the sensing elements that also serve as the heaters of the sensor. By measuring the temperature differences among the four sensing elements symmetrically distributed in the sensing area, a full 360° direction sensitivity can be obtained. By using a BP neural network to model the relationship between the readouts of the four sensor elements and flow parameters and execute data fusion, the magnitude and direction of the flow can be deduced. Validity of the sensor design was proven through both simulations and experiments. Wind tunnel experimental results show that the measurement accuracy of the airflow speed reaches 0.72 m/s in the range of 3 m/s–30 m/s and the measurement accuracy of flow direction angle reaches 1.9° in the range of 360°.
Keywords: two-dimensional flow measurement; thermal flow sensor; BP neural network
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Que, R.; Zhu, R. A Two-Dimensional Flow Sensor with Integrated Micro Thermal Sensing Elements and a Back Propagation Neural Network. Sensors 2014, 14, 564-574.

AMA Style

Que R, Zhu R. A Two-Dimensional Flow Sensor with Integrated Micro Thermal Sensing Elements and a Back Propagation Neural Network. Sensors. 2014; 14(1):564-574.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Que, Ruiyi; Zhu, Rong. 2014. "A Two-Dimensional Flow Sensor with Integrated Micro Thermal Sensing Elements and a Back Propagation Neural Network." Sensors 14, no. 1: 564-574.


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