Challenges of Fluid Pressure Measurement in Automotive Applications

The automobile industry is regarded as one of the most strictly regulated industries in the world. Manufacturers have to conform to an extensive range of rigorous standards, especially in Europe where regulations are among the strictest of all.

The measurement and testing of variables are important factors for accomplishing compliance. Many of these variables are associated with the pressure of car fluids and media. For instance, factors such as hydraulic transmission, vehicle’s cooling and fuel injection systems – among many others – have to be proved safe against detailed specifications prior to the sale of a car.

Challenges of Measuring Pressure Inside a Car

Measuring the pressure inside a car is not an easy task due to a number of reasons. A car is no laboratory, and its unique environment makes measuring pressure quite challenging.

Some of the common problems are:

Particles in the Fluid

The most challenging issue is the likely presence of particles in the medium being measured. Several standard pressure sensors feature an orifice that takes in fluid for measurement. The diaphragm will not be able to sense changes in pressure, if the particles get stuck inside. In addition, the sensor could also be damaged.

Vibrations

Many vibrations that can cause a mis-read in the pressure transducer are generated when a car engine is switched on.

To be more specific, engine vibrations can cause the transducer to vibrate, producing noise in the output. Also, the pressure transducer could be damaged.

High Temperatures

It is a known fact that the temperature of car fluids can go above 99 °C. In such heat, the electronics within most pressure sensors are incapable of working.

One solution to this issue is to use small 'standoffs' of the media, if it is too hot to measure normally.

Electrical Noise

Overcoming the electrical noise generated by the engine is another major concern.

When a low mV output is generated by the pressure transducer, the engine’s stronger electrical noise will then ‘shadow’ it and cause errors in the reading. Probably, the best solution would be to use a milliamps or volt-output pressure transducer, whose higher output is appropriate for industrial environments.

Specialized Flush Diaphragm Transducers as a Solution

Fortunately, the automobile industry has exclusively developed specialized pressure transducers to overcome all the problems mentioned above.

Some of the features of OMEGA Engineering’s PX61C Flush Diaphragm Pressure Transducer and PX600 Flush Diaphragm Pressure Transducers are as follows:

  • Volt output for accurate readings during electrical noise
  • Strong performance during engine vibrations
  • No orifice, and hence no risk of blockage by particles in suspension

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OMEGA Engineering Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit OMEGA Engineering Ltd.

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