Choosing A Pressure Sensor

doctor taking patient's blood pressure

When comparing pressure sensors, there are a number of physical and performance attributes to be considered.  

Firstly, you’ll want to consider the pressure range each sensor is capable of measuring and how that compares to the pressures you want to measure. You may also wish to consider proof pressure, the maximum pressure the device can withstand and then retain functionality when the pressure returns to the operating range, and burst pressure, the pressure that breaks the component such that fluids can leak (which may be dangerous in some applications).

Pressure sensors’ accuracy is an important performance attribute, which is typically given as a percentage of full-scale pressure over a certain temperature range. Some sensors also exhibit hysteresis, non-repeatability and non-linearity, which should be described on the data sheet, if they apply. Linearity is generally expressed as a percentage of full scale pressure, but there are two methods of measurement (best fit straight line and terminal point) which are not equivalent, so be sure to compare like with like. Long-term stability of devices is also desirable – look for low drift over time as well as good stability over a wide temperature and humidity range – while short-term stability after soldering can also be an issue if the device needs to be used straight away (some sensor types can take hours, or even weeks to stabilise).

You should also consider how long you have to spend on integrating the sensor into your system. If time is short, a transducer with integrated signal conditioning electronics, temperature compensation, self-calibration, internal diagnostic functions and a digital output may be the best choice. However, if your system has specialist needs and you are working with appropriate design resources, your own custom implementation of the electronics could be the right choice, especially if you are prepared to calibrate the sensor after assembly.

Next, consider the environment the sensor will be operating in. Mechanical robustness may be an issue – the sensor’s specification may give an idea of its expected cycle life. The ability to withstand liquids or contaminants may be attained by selecting a stainless steel part (note that most gauge pressure sensors have a hole or vent in the packaging for reading atmospheric pressure which can get clogged with dirt). Sensitivity to shock and vibration is also particularly important to automotive, transportation and industrial applications.

Some other vital parameters are the sensor’s response time (vital if real time feedback is required), energy efficiency (check the current consumption figures, especially for transmitters), and physical size. For hard to reach areas or portable equipment, you’ll be looking for a compact solution.  Modern sensors come in a variety of package sizes and options that also need to be investigated. For example, does the sensor need to be surface mounted onto a PCB or does it need to be mounted in a specific orientation? Both obviously have implications for packaging choice.

There are of course many other factors that determine pressure sensor choice in specialist applications, such as heavy-duty sensors for industrial and transportation systems, highly accurate sensors for instrumentation and medical equipment, and low cost sensors for consumer devices, but this summary is a good starting point.

If you'd like to read about pressure sensor technology selection in more detail, why not download our pressure sensor white paper, or visit our sensors page to find out more about other sensor technologies.

Related Articles
Sensor for market of IIoT
What Types of Sensors Are Required by the Trillion-Dollar IIoT Market?
November 11, 2019
The trillion-dollar IIoT is the driving force behind a new surge of development for industrial sensor products. Keeping abreast of this exciting trend in the IIoT sector will help ensure that our new designs are both relevant and innovative.
bluetooth speaker with IoT icons arround it
Will the smart speaker market cool off?
January 20, 2019
The news at the start of this year that Tencent had suspended its smart speaker project ‘Tingting’ sent chills down the spines of many. What’s more, statistics show that half of the 50 Chinese companies that had invested in smart speakers when
MEMs Revolutionizes Sensor Landscape
July 19, 2018
Until fairly recently—roughly 15 to 20 years ago—sensors for ubiquitous physical parameters such as pressure, motion and magnetic fields were relatively large, costly, power-hungry and electrically incompatible with standard circuitry.
facial recognition software assembling the face of a young man
Can the “spare tire” of 3D facial recognition move into the mainstream?
August 21, 2017
The 3D facial recognition market is expanding rapidly. According to a forecast from Trend Force, the 3D sensing market will grow exponentially, reaching $10.89 billion in 2020 and $18 billion by 2023. The penetration rate of 3D facial recognition in
robot hand and human hand touching digital screen from oposite sides
How to create a touch screen you can “feel”
August 9, 2017
Haptics is an excellent “companion” for touch screens in that it gives users a “sense” of “touch”. Although the main sources of external information are visual and auditory, many users agree that the tactile stimulus enabled by haptics ac
disposal bins (recycle, trash, etc) on the side of a building with IoT icons hovering over them
What Can We Do About Waste Sorting?
August 1, 2017
With the aim of easing the pain and facilitating the process of waste sorting, intensive research and development is focused on smart rubbish bins. In the waste disposal process, from disposal, collection and transport to treatment, rubbish bins conn
snowboarder in yelow jacket and blue pants sits on snow overlooking the mountains
Monitoring Impact Levels in Sports
April 20, 2017
Concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is a very serious topic in the world of sports today.
black smart watch
Wearables: Tracking, Computing and Making Sense of Context Awareness
April 15, 2017
Wearable devices are moving quickly from concept to reality based on evolving technologies such as sensor fusion, communications and vision. Wearables have evolved to become perceptually aware agents that learn through users’ experiences, activitie
smart watch with IoT icons on the screen
Wearable Electronics: Four Approaches to Implement a Sensor Hub and Save Power
March 17, 2017
As more sensors are added to nearly every electronic device including smartphones, tablets and wearables, more power is needed to run sensor data and turn it into useful information.
Related Events

No related Events found