Next Article in Journal
On the Capability of Smartphones to Perform as Communication Gateways in Medical Wireless Personal Area Networks
Previous Article in Journal
A Novel Encoded Excitation Scheme in a Phased Array for The Improving Data Acquisition Rate
Article Menu

Export Article

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

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

State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Department of Precision Instruments, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 November 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [574 KB, uploaded 21 June 2014]   |  


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°. View Full-Text
Keywords: two-dimensional flow measurement; thermal flow sensor; BP neural network two-dimensional flow measurement; thermal flow sensor; BP neural network

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sensors EISSN 1424-8220 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top