Pressure transducers are engineering devices that take energy gained from pressure and convert it into electrical energy. Almost exclusively, they are used as pressure sensors, or pressure transmitters, though, technically they are only one component of the pressure sensor. Examples of pressure sensors that use pressure transducers to measure and report pressure levels include level transmitters, miniature sensors, pressure regulators, and miniature sensors. Nevertheless, the term “pressure sensor” is often used interchangeably with pressure transducer. Bearing that in mind, the rest of this article will also use pressure transducers and pressure sensors interchangeably.
Pressure sensors may be categorized in a number of ways, including by the kind of pressure they measure, the range of pressure they measure and their range of operating temperatures. For example, all pressure sensors can be divided into five main categories: sealed pressure sensors, gauge pressure sensors, vacuum pressure sensors, absolute pressure sensors, and differential pressure sensors. Sealed pressure sensors measure pressure against a predetermined fixed pressure.
Likewise, gauge pressure sensors measure pressure relative to atmospheric pressure, which, also known as barometric pressure, is the pressure generated from the weight of the air in Earth’s atmosphere. Next, vacuum pressure sensors are used to measure those pressures that are lower than atmospheric pressure and show the difference between said low pressure and atmospheric pressure. Vacuum pressure sensors are not to be confused with absolute pressure sensors, which calculate pressure relative to perfect vacuum, which is a state in which no particles exist. Finally, differential pressure sensors measure the difference between two or more pressures, found at various spots on the sensor. They are used to evaluate the rate of flow and pressure drops inside pressurized or enclosed vessels. Read More…
Another major grouping of pressure transducers are air pressure sensors. Air pressure sensors are commonly used with pneumatic tools or air compressors to determine the pressure of airflow and provide a digestible reading of this measurement to overseers. Two of the three main air pressure sensors, absolute pressure sensors and differential pressure sensors, have already been described, but the third has not. The third is the atmospheric pressure sensor, also known as the barometric pressure sensor, which measures and provides readings of the measure of this pressure for meteorologists.
To further hone results, operators frequently use additional devices and mechanisms in combination with pressure transducers, such as pressure regulators, pressure calibrators, level transmitters, torque transducers, temperature transducers, and integrated circuits. Pressure regulators offer greater observation and control over the amount of pressure running through a system, and are generally programmable; if pressure exceeds the threshold of safety, indicated by a programmed point, a regulator will alert operators.
Similarly, pressure calibrators calculate and report back the pressure, flow and level of certain system instruments, with the goal of maintaining safe and efficient operations. Connected to an established system, they receive input from it, that they can then compare to input from the system’s gauge. This comparison helps operators quickly determine whether or not their gauge is working properly. Following pressure regulators and calibrators are level transmitters. Level transmitters measure the levels of variables like solids, slurries, or liquids in a given space.
Generally, level transmitters will sound an alarm or trigger a shut-off switch if the buildup is too great for safe operations. Next, both torque transducers and temperature transducers broaden the picture by measuring rotational movement and heat content, respectively. Torque transducers, also called torque sensors or torque transmitters, get their readings by measuring both the static and dynamic twist in a rotating system.
Temperature transducers can either draw conclusions remotely, basing their readings on thermal radiation, or directly, by literally going into a substance. Finally, the integrated circuit (IC), also known as a silicon chip or microchip, is a miniature electronic circuit. More and more commonly, integrated chips are being used by pressure transducers to communicate with other equipment and maintain accuracy levels.
Today, pressure transducers are made using a variety of materials, all of which allow for high levels of accuracy. Such materials include stainless steel, copper, ceramic, titanium, carbon, and many others. Transducers may also be fabricated in a number of sizes; the average pressure sensor measures about one cubic inch, but they may be fabricated to be less than 1/100th of a cubic inch.
Very small sensors such as the latter are called miniature sensors, and they are designed for application in critical proceedings, like biological and medical procedures in which instruments must be as unintrusive as possible. Most miniature sensors exhibit a margin of error of less than one percent; they are kept this accurate via proper calibration and backup systems.
Pressure transducers can be adapted to or customized for many applications, among them altitude sensing, which is useful for aerospace and navigation applications, flow sensing, leak testing and pressure sensing, which is important to weather instrumentation, automobile functioning, aircraft operation, chemical processing, and so much more.