The varying applications of pressure sensors
Pressure sensors are used for many automotive, medical, industrial, consumer and building devices, which depend on accurate and stable pressure measurements in order to operate reliably. As more industries rely on pressure sensors to monitor and control their applications, demand for these technologies has greatly increased, putting estimations of the worldwide pressure sensor market at $11.4 billion by 2024.
Here’s how recent innovations in sensor technology are enabling smarter, safer, and more environmentally friendly electronics for businesses and consumers alike.
In automobiles, hydraulic brakes are a crucial component in passenger safety. The ability to control a vehicle using brakes is down to a complex blend of components, including pressure sensors. These can be used to monitor pressure within the chambers of the braking system, alerting drivers and engine management systems alike if pressures are too low to be effective. If pressure inside chambers is not measured, systems can fail without the driver knowing and lead to a sudden loss of braking efficacy and accidents.
Until recently, airbags were solely designed to inflate inside of vehicles for the front two passenger seats in the event of a collision. Now, car manufacturers have created airbag innovations inside and outside of vehicles that release faster, resulting in safer outcomes for passengers in any seat and pedestrians too. They have also found ways of making the driving experience safer for the planet; bringing down engine emissions, by re-circulating exhaust gases.
Life-saving medical applications
Raising the air pressure in a sealed chamber containing a patient is known as hyperbaric therapy. It can be effective for treating a number of medical conditions, from skin grafts, burn injuries, and carbon monoxide poisoning to decompression sickness experienced by divers.
Measuring blood pressure correctly is crucial to patient care, as errors in readings can lead to a misdiagnosis. Thanks to recent innovations, tiny pressure sensors can even be implanted into the body, known as In Vivo Blood Pressure Sensing for more accurate monitoring.
Automated building applications
As building and home automation technologies become increasingly popular, pressure sensors continue to play a central role in controlling the environments we live in. Refrigeration systems are one such example. Common coolants in HVACs like ammonia can cause significant danger to people in the event of a leak. Using relative pressure sensors to monitor the pressure of the ammonia as it passes through the system ensures it stays within safe limits.
Controlling large building environments is a challenge for designers and operations staff alike.
Life-enhancing consumer applications
The things we use, carry and wear on a daily basis are growing in intelligence. Adding a pressure sensor to a consumer device can provide new information for an improved user experience.
Take vacuum cleaners, or example. By measuring suction changes, they can detect what kind of flooring is being cleaned and adjust settings accordingly, or notify their owners when a filter needs replacing.
Submersible pressure sensors can be used to measure liquid pressures (up to 30 PSI) with either a voltage or current (4-20mA) output in liquid tanks. By positioning these sensors at the bottom of a tank, you can get an accurate reading of the contents in order to alert workers or the process control system when levels in the tank fall below safe limits.
Pressure sensors are a fast-moving area of technology, and advances are transforming products across a number of industries, with safer outcomes for both people and planet.
What else are pressure sensors used for?
Find out more in our articles on applications in automotive, building automation, consumer and wearables, medical and industrial applications.
Looking for more on pressure sensor technology? Check out the further chapters of this guide below, or if you're pressed for time you can download it in a PDF format here.
Discover the keys to designing pressure sensor applications with this 30-minute technical presentation and Q&A with Nicholas Argyle, Applications Engineer EMEA, TE Connectivity.Watch On Demand
Need a more digestible introduction to pressure sensors? Download the white paper, 'Pressure sensors: Design considerations and technology options'.Download
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