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Sensors 2017, 17(4), 755; doi:10.3390/s17040755

The Combination of Micro Diaphragm Pumps and Flow Sensors for Single Stroke Based Liquid Flow Control

Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT, 80686 Munich, Germany
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Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 30 March 2017 / Published: 3 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Sensors and Control Devices)
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Abstract

With the combination of micropumps and flow sensors, highly accurate and secure closed-loop controlled micro dosing systems for liquids are possible. Implementing a single stroke based control mode with piezoelectrically driven micro diaphragm pumps can provide a solution for dosing of volumes down to nanoliters or variable average flow rates in the range of nL/min to μL/min. However, sensor technologies feature a yet undetermined accuracy for measuring highly pulsatile micropump flow. Two miniaturizable in-line sensor types providing electrical readout—differential pressure based flow sensors and thermal calorimetric flow sensors—are evaluated for their suitability of combining them with mircopumps. Single stroke based calibration of the sensors was carried out with a new method, comparing displacement volumes and sensor flow volumes. Limitations of accuracy and performance for single stroke based flow control are described. Results showed that besides particle robustness of sensors, controlling resistive and capacitive damping are key aspects for setting up reproducible and reliable liquid dosing systems. Depending on the required average flow or defined volume, dosing systems with an accuracy of better than 5% for the differential pressure based sensor and better than 6.5% for the thermal calorimeter were achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: micropump; flow sensor; flow control; single stroke; sensor velocity; differential pressure based flow sensor; thermal flow sensor; damping micropump; flow sensor; flow control; single stroke; sensor velocity; differential pressure based flow sensor; thermal flow sensor; damping
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jenke, C.; Pallejà Rubio, J.; Kibler, S.; Häfner, J.; Richter, M.; Kutter, C. The Combination of Micro Diaphragm Pumps and Flow Sensors for Single Stroke Based Liquid Flow Control. Sensors 2017, 17, 755.

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