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Teledyne Hastings Instruments Blog

Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors and the HPM-760S

Posted by Will Harrison on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors - Direct Vacuum Gauges

In the vacuum world, gauges can be characterized as being either “Direct” or “Indirect”. Direct gauges are so-called because they directly measure the force imparted on some surface. And since P = F /A (pressure equals force per unit area), the gauge is directly measuring the pressure. Some examples of direct gauges would include: Bourdon gauges, capacitance manometers, piezo-resistance gauges (we’ll talk more about this one later in this blog).

Bourdon Gauge Teledyne Hastings Instruments Framed

                                                            Bourdon Gauge

 

Indirect gauges do not “directly” measure the force associated with the gas in the chamber. Rather, these gauges measure some property associated with the gas. For example, thermocouple vacuum gauge tubes measure the thermal conductivity of the gas which is a function of the pressure. As another example, ionization gauges measure the ionization rate of a gas which is proportional to the pressure over a several orders of magnitude. So, thermocouple gauges and ionization gauges can both be called Indirect Gauges.

Thermocouple_Guage_Tubes_Teledyne_Hastings_Instruments_framed                 Ionization Gauge IGE3000

    Thermocouple Gauge                                                       Ionization Gauge

 

One of the key features of a Direct Vacuum Gauge is that it does not matter what gas in the vacuum is being measured. In other words, if the user has 20 Torr of Argon, Helium, Methane… or Air, a Direct Gauge will read the same pressure. To say it another way, Direct Gauges are said to be Gas Composition Independent.

Teledyne Hastings provides a Direct Vacuum Gauge called the HPM-760S. (It is called the 760 because it will always provide very accurate results at atmospheric pressure.)  The HPM-760S utilizes a piezoresistive sensor. A cutaway drawing of this sensor is shown in the figure below.

 

In this cutaway, we can see the micro-machined sense die. This die contains a resistance bridge that is made up of piezo-resistors. In a piezoresistor, the resistance changes as force is applied. The resistance bridge sensor is itself in contact with silicone oil that transmits the force from the gas in the vacuum system to the sensor. And, one of the most important things to observe about this sensor is that the only wetted material actually exposed to the gas in the vacuum chamber is 316L Stainless Steel. So to summarize, the gas molecules in the vacuum system exert a force onto the stainless steel diaphragm which in turn imparts a force on the piezo-resistive sense via the silicone oil.

 

Cross Section of HPM-760 Sensor

One last thing to mention about our cutaway drawing: the sensor of the HPM-760S is referenced to vacuum. This type of arrangement gives ABSOLUTE readings. Other types of pressure sensors can be referenced to atmospheric pressure (GAUGE readings) or can be connected to another part of the process stream (DIFFERENTIAL) readings.

                 

The HPM-760S is a DIRECT, ABSOLUTE, vacuum gauge. It is an excellent gauge for use on systems that are evacuated using a diaphragm pump. These types of pumps typically operate in the region between a few Torr and atmosphere. And, as mentioned previously, the HPM-760s has only stainless steel exposed (wetted) to the gas in the vacuum chamber. In other words, any gas (including corrosives) which is compatible with stainless steel will be compatible with the HPM-760S.

 

HPM 760S Transducer Teledyne Hastings Instruments framed                                                          HPM-760S

The HPM-760S takes the output from the piezo-resistance bridge and amplifies it for the convenience of the user. At time of order entry, the user can select from four linear outputs.

 

760_Sensor_Output_Options-1

Two more quick notes about the analog output: First, selection of the 0-10 VDC version makes the conversion from voltage to pressure trivial. As a specific example, at 760 Torr, the voltage output is 7.60 Volt – SIMPLE.  Second, the 4-20 mA output is a good selection in industrial environments that might have lots of electrical noise/interface or where the pressure signal must be transmitted long distances  (>25 feet or 10 meter).

 

In addition to the linear outputs, the user can also select from several common vacuum system connections:

760_Sensor_end_fittings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HPM-760s is very easy to use. See the image below. Two wires (Pins 3 & 4) are used to provide power to the HPM-760S. The two other wires (Pins 1 & 2) provide the linear output. So the HPM-760s can be used as a stand-alone vacuum gauge.

 


HPM 760S pin out Teledyne Hastings Instruments

 

In some cases, a user might like the convenience of having a readout preconfigured for the HPM-760S. The THCD-100 (shown below) can be quickly attached using the CB-760S-THCD cable. In this scenario, the user not only gets a power/display module, but the THCD-100 will also provide dual process control relays. The THCD-100 can be easily connected to a computer or PLC via RS232. And finally, by using the DisplayX software (free) for the THCD-100, the user can also easily collect and log data to a spreadsheet.

THCD-100_Teledyne_Hastings_Instruments

                THCD-100

  

 

 

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This blog was prepared by Will (Iron Man) Harrison and Doug Baker. Will runs at least two marathons per year – this Fall, Will is going to run his first New York City Marathon.

 

Tags: Vacuum gauge, Sensor, vacuum instruments, pressure, vacuum pressure

FAQ Corner – Teledyne Hastings Instruments at Pittcon 2013

Posted by Brandon Hafer on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 03:20 PM

It’s hard to believe that it is now March, which means that Pittcon 2013 is right around the corner. Teledyne Hastings Instruments will have Applications Engineers and representatives in attendance to answer all of your mass flow and vacuum instrumentation questions.

 

PITTCON 2013 LOGOPittcon is an annual conference on laboratory science that is organized by The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. Pittcon started as a small technical conference held in 1950. The first 18 conferences were held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but the conference has since grown. Locations now vary from year to year with this year’s conference being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from March 17-21.

 

There have been many changes over the 60 plus years of the Pittsburgh Conference, and remains a worthwhile event to attend. Teledyne has had a presence at the event for the past 35 years. Included in the weeks events are thousands of exhibitors, numerous technical programs and lectures, and short courses. It provides the opportunity to meet and interact with scientist from across the country and around the world. Papers and articles are presented daily, illustrating the advancements in science in the past year. And finally, it allows for a single location to walk around and see over 17,000 companies and exhibitors with their products and technologies.

Teledyne Technologies Incorporated will have 4 companies in attendance at Pittcon this year. In addition to Teledyne Hastings Instruments, Teledyne Tekmar, Teledyne Leeman Labs, and Teledyne Judson will be exhibiting. Teledyne Tekmar is a leader in the design and manufacturing of analytical instrumentation including products for gas chromatography sample introduction, total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN) analyzers. Teledyne Leeman Labs is a producer of world-class instruments for elemental analysis including ICP spectrometers, atomic absorption spectrometers and mercury analyzers. Teledyne Judson is a leading designer and manufacturer of high performance infrared detectors and accessory products. The Teledyne family of companies will be located in booths 916 and 917, which are located near Entrance D to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Teledyne employees will be giving presentations on a variety of topics while at Pittcon. If you would like more information on the schedule or the topics to be covered please contact us or stop by our booth and we can provide that information.

Teledyne Hastings Instruments has a great deal of experience with the analytical instrumentation industry. We are always interested in new applications even if they do not exactly fit into the standard product design for mass flow or vacuum instrumentation. We are very willing to examine possible custom designs to meet the requirements of your system. Some examples of previous custom applications include a variety of non-standard packages for both our mass flow and vacuum products, modified electronics, high pressure designs, and even custom designed flow and vacuum sensors.

 

We welcome your comments and your questions and look forward to seeing you at Pittcon 2013. Please stop by our booth and discuss your projects with either Vikki Jewel or Brandon Hafer. You can also email your questions to Victoria.Jewell@Teledyne.com or Brandon.Hafer@Teledyne.comand we’ll be happy to respond and work with you. 

Brandon Hafer is an Application Engineer with Teledyne Hastings Instruments. He was raised in Pottsville in Eastern Pennsylvania and is a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. He is looking forward to returning to the Philadelphia area for Pittcon 2013. If you would like to contact him, he can be reached at brandon.hafer@teledyne.com.

 

 

 

Tags: Teledyne Hastings Instruments, vacuum instruments, mass flow instruments