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Capacitive Sensing of Icing under Vacuum and Cryogenic Temperatures

Institute of Smart Systems Technologies, Sensors and Actuators, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt 9020, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(16), 3574; (registering DOI)
Received: 21 July 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
PDF [10145 KB, uploaded 16 August 2019]


In certain industrial processes, ice aggregations on surfaces can occur under almost vacuum conditions and at very low to cryogenic temperatures due to residual water molecules. This aggregation can affect the performance of the process and it is therefore of interest to monitor such surfaces. In this paper, we present a capacitive ice measurement system capable to operate in vacuum and temperatures of about - 120 C and below. We present a capacitive sensor setup with a separation of sensor element and sensor electronics, such that the sensor electronics can reside outside the cold environment. It is demonstrated that the permittivity of such ice formations at vacuum and low temperatures is sufficient for measurement using the proposed sensor configuration. Results from a long-term study using a prototype further demonstrate the stability of the system and thus the feasibility of the proposed system for long term condition monitoring of surfaces in vacuum that are e.g., cooled by cryogenic liquids. The developed system uses wireless communication in order to allow for simple retrofitting of existing infrastructure even in remote locations.
Keywords: capacitive sensors; icing; ice formation capacitive sensors; icing; ice formation
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

Leitzke, J.P.; Mitterer, T.; Zangl, H. Capacitive Sensing of Icing under Vacuum and Cryogenic Temperatures. Sensors 2019, 19, 3574.

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