(19)
(11)EP 3 540 382 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
07.09.2022 Bulletin 2022/36

(21)Application number: 19162050.9

(22)Date of filing:  11.03.2019
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01F 1/684(2006.01)
G01F 15/04(2006.01)
G01F 1/692(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
G01F 1/6842; G01F 1/6845; G01F 1/692; G01F 15/043

(54)

AIRFLOW SENSOR WITH GAS COMPOSITION CORRECTION

LUFTSTROMSENSOR MIT KORREKTUR DER GASZUSAMMENSETZUNG

CAPTEUR DE FLUX D'AIR À CORRECTION DE COMPOSITION DE GAZ


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 13.03.2018 US 201815920205

(43)Date of publication of application:
18.09.2019 Bulletin 2019/38

(73)Proprietor: Honeywell International Inc.
Morris Plains, NJ 07950 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • HIGASHI, Robert
    Morris Plains, NJ 07950 (US)
  • YANG, Wei
    Morris Plains, NJ 07950 (US)

(74)Representative: Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP 
Cheapside House 138 Cheapside
London EC2V 6BJ
London EC2V 6BJ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 258 060
WO-A1-2016/137826
WO-A1-2016/044407
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Fluid flow transducers are widely used to measure the flow of fluid materials. Flow sensors are used to sense fluid flow, and in some cases, provide flow signals that can be used for instrumentation and/or control. Flow sensors are used in a wide variety of applications including industrial applications, medical applications, engine control applications, military applications, and aeronautical applications, to name just a few. Gas flow transducers are used throughout the microelectronics industry, for example. The measurement and control of gas flows must be very precise in this industry. The vacuum technology used in the microelectronics industry requires small but precise gas flows. These small flows permit a flow meter to be located inside a gas delivery tube. Other industries require large gas consumptions. In such industries, a small fraction of the delivered gas may be routed through a bypass tube. The gas flow is often measured in this bypass tube, and the measured flow is then multiplied by the ratio of total gas flow to the gas flowing in the bypass tube. Fluid flow transducers are also used to measure the flow of liquid commodities. For example, chemical companies use fluid flow transducers to measure the flow of liquid reactants used in a chemical reaction. The precise measure of the flows of multiple reactants may be important for maintaining a proper stoichiometric ratio for a reaction.

    [0002] WO 2016/137826 A1 discloses a MEMS thermal flow sensor or meter for measuring the flow rate of a fluid in which: a response curve is determined by plotting the sensor output voltage against the volume flow rate divided by fluid thermal diffusivity for a calibration fluid of known thermal diffusivity and storing response curve data in memory; and a conversion factor is employed to provide a measure of correct flow rate of an unknown fluid, which is derived from the ratio of the thermal time constant of the calibration fluid to the thermal time constant of the measured fluid, the time constants being measured at zero flow.

    [0003] WO 2016/044407 A1 discloses eliminating the heater resistor from traditional flow sensors that include an upstream resistive sensor element, a downstream resistive sensor element and an intervening heater resistive element.

    SUMMARY



    [0004] Aspects of the invention are set out in the appended claims, to which reference should be made.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0005] For a more complete understanding of the present disclosure, reference is now made to the following brief description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and detailed description, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts.

    FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic cross-sectional view of an example flow sensing device.

    FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary flow sensing device.

    FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic circuit diagram of a flow sensor configured to determine thermal properties of a fluid.

    FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic circuit diagram of a sensor configured to determine thermal properties of a fluid.

    FIG. 5 is a top view of an illustrative flow sensor.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0006] It should be understood at the outset that although illustrative implementations are illustrated below, the disclosed systems and methods may be implemented using any number of techniques, whether currently known or not yet in existence. The disclosure should in no way be limited to the illustrative implementations, drawings, and techniques illustrated below, but may be modified within the scope of the appended claims along with their full scope of equivalents.

    [0007] The following brief definition of terms shall apply throughout the application:

    The term "comprising" means including but not limited to, and should be interpreted in the manner it is typically used in the patent context;

    If the specification describes something as "exemplary" or an "example," it should be understood that refers to a non-exclusive example;

    The terms "about" or "approximately" or the like, when used with a number, may mean that specific number, or alternatively, a range in proximity to the specific number, as understood by persons of skill in the art field; and

    If the specification states a component or feature "may," "can," "could," "should," "would," "preferably," "possibly," "typically," "optionally," "for example," "often," or "might" (or other such language) be included or have a characteristic, that particular component or feature is not required to be included or to have the characteristic. Such component or feature may be optionally included, or it may be excluded.



    [0008] The disclosure include methods and systems for determining a flow rate of a fluid through a flow sensor. In order to provide improved accuracy, the flow rate can be compensated using one or more thermal properties of the fluid. Conventional thermal based MEMS flow sensors may measure the mass flow of a known gas or known mixture of gases. If the gas composition varies, or is unknown, it may not be possible to determine the actual flow of the gas without additional information. However, if the thermal conductivity and diffusivity of a gas are known, it may be possible to correct the mass flow values, even if the identity of the gas is unknown.

    [0009] Thermal diffusivity may be difficult to measure because it depends on the thermal "mass" of the gas, and gas density is low compared to a solid and is therefore small compared to any structure which might be used to measure the gas density. While the thermal diffusivity is difficult to measure, it may still be possible to use the thermal characteristics of the gas by determining a characteristic of the gas other than the thermal diffusivity. For example, the Prandtl number is the ratio of thermal diffusivity to momentum diffusivity and the Prandtl number is typically between 0.63 to 0.8 for many gases (except hydrogen and some noble gases which can be between 0.16 - 0.7). If the gases of interest (e.g., the gasses within the fluid flowing through the sensor) have comparable Prandtl numbers, then measuring kinematic viscosity can be used to determine or provide an indication of the thermal diffusivity. Kinematic viscosity can be easier to measure than thermal diffusivity, as it is related to the pressure drop of the gas flowing through a straight pipe with laminar flow.

    [0010] The disclosure includes a cost-effective, small and low power thermal conductivity and kinematic viscosity sensor to allow for correction of conventional fluid flow sensors, where the sensor may be integrated into a conventional fluid flow sensor or may be used concurrently with a conventional fluid flow sensor.

    [0011] The disclosure may include adding additional circuitry to a central-heater fluid flow sensor to gather additional information about the gas surrounding the sensor. When the heater circuit is powered by a constant direct current (DC) voltage and the current required to maintain this voltage may be measured, the power dissipation of the heater may be determined. As the flow sense element has been designed to minimize heat dissipation in the element itself, this power dissipation correlates well to the thermal conductivity of the gas surrounding the heater (wherein the thermal conductivity is a measure of how the gas dissipates the heat away from the heater). Additionally, the additional circuitry may comprise one or more pressure sensor configured to determine the differential pressure between an inlet and an outlet of the sensor. The differential pressure (or pressure drop) may be used to determine the kinematic viscosity of the fluid flowing from the inlet to the outlet. With indications or measurements of both the thermal conductivity and the kinematic viscosity, the flow sensor output can be compensated to indicate standard volumetric flow rates.

    [0012] For the thermal conductivity, one or more temperature-stable resistors, Rtail-1 and Rtail-2 in the below figures, may be connected to a fluid flow sense die to qualify the rate of rise in temperate at the sensing resistors. If the temperature is known, the voltage across Rtail-2 is directly proportional to the heater power, which, as stated above, allows thermal conductivity to be measured, provided the sense element has been characterized using a known test gas to allow for sensor-to-sensor variation. Having determined the thermal conductivity, kinematic viscosity, and an air equivalent flow signal, the actual standard volumetric flow rate of the gas may be determined based on an air calibration of the sense element. Additionally, use of pressure information and the flow characteristics of the fluid flow sensor can allow the kinematic viscosity to be determined.

    [0013] FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of an example flow sensing device 100. The illustrative flow sensing device 100 includes a flow sensing device body 102 that defines a flow channel 104 having a first end 106 and a second end 108. A fluid may flow through the flow channel 104 from, for example, the first end 106 to the second end 108 and past a flow sensor 110. The flow sensor 110 may sense the flow of the fluid passing over the flow sensor 110 and provide one or more output signals indicative of that flow. In some cases, the flow sensor 110 may provide one or more output signals that identity the flow rate of the fluid passing over the flow sensor 110.

    [0014] While not required, the flow sensor 110 may include a flow sensor die that is mounted to a substrate 112. The substrate 112 may be mounted in the flow sensing device body 102. In some cases, some of the support circuitry for the flow sensor die may be located on the substrate 112 and/or may be located outside of the flow sensing device 100 altogether (e.g., located in a device that uses the output of the flow sensing device 100). FIG. 1 shows one example configuration of a flow sensing device. It should be recognized that such flow sensor devices can and do assume a wide variety of different configurations, depending on the application.

    [0015] The flow sensing device 100 may comprise an inlet pressure sensor 120 configured to measure the pressure at the inlet 106 of the flow channel 104, and an outlet pressure sensor 122 configured to measure the pressure at the outlet 108 of the flow channel 104. While shown at the inlet and outlet of the flow channel, the pressure sensors can alternatively be placed upstream and downstream at any point relative to the flow sensor. The differential pressure between the inlet pressure sensor 120 and the outlet pressure sensor 122 may be used to determine the kinematic viscosity of the fluid flowing through the flow channel 104, as described in more detail herein. The differential pressure between the inlet pressure sensor 120 and outlet pressure sensor 122 may be generated by a restriction 124 in the flow channel 104 that is located near the flow sensor 110.

    [0016] FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary temperature-compensated fluid flow measurement system 200. The fluid flow measurement system 200 includes a heater drive circuit 205 and a fluid flow transducer 210. The flow transducer 210 has a heater 215 located between a first temperature sensor 220 and a second temperature sensor 225. Power for the heater 215 is supplied by a heater drive circuit 205. When a flow transducer 210 is introduced into a fluid material, such as a gas or liquid material, the heater 215 may be in thermal conduction with the fluid material. The fluid material may substantially surround the heater 215. The fluid material may pass directly over the heater 215. When the flow transducer is introduced into a fluid material, the temperature sensors 220, 225 may be in thermal communication with the fluid material. In this way, the temperature sensors 220, 225 may be in convective connection with the heater 215. The measurements of the temperature sensors 220, 225 may be indicative of a flow of the fluid material. The flow transducer 210 may put a signal indicative of a flow of the fluid material on one or more output pins 227, 228.

    [0017] The heater drive circuit 205 includes a temperature-compensation module 230, an amplifier 235, and a feedback network 240. The amplifier 235 may have a gain greater than one. The amplifier's gain may be less than or equal to one. The amplifier 235 has an output node 245, which is connected to the heater 215 of the flow transducer 210. The feedback network 240 samples a signal on the output node 245 and may perform signal processing operations to the signal, such as may be performed by passive impedance networks. The processed output signal is then delivered to a negative input node 250 of the amplifier 235 in this example. The Temperature-Compensation Module (TCM) 230 may generate a temperature-varying signal and then may deliver this temperature-varying signal to the positive input node 255 of the amplifier 235. The temperature-varying signal may be used to compensate for a disturbance due to the temperature variation of the fluid material. A temperature profile of the temperature-varying signal may be predetermined. The temperature profile may be programmable. The temperature profile may be trimmable, for example.

    [0018] A sensor may be used to determine the flow rate of a fluid (e.g., a liquid, a gas, etc.). The content of the fluid may be unknown, so it may be helpful to determine one or more characteristics or properties of the unknown fluid. The unknown fluid could be a gas such as air, argon, nitrogen, methane, oxygen, etc. To accurately sense the flow rate of the unknown fluid and/or correct the flow rate to standard conditions, the sensor may be configured to self-calibrate the sensor's readings based on determined thermal properties of the fluid.

    [0019] FIG. 3 illustrates a circuit diagram 300 comprising a bridge circuit 310 and a heater circuit 305 that, according to the present invention, is incorporated into the sensor. The circuit 300 may be configured to determine thermal properties of the fluid concurrently with determining the flow rate of the fluid. According to the present invention, the bridge circuit 310 comprises at least one upstream resistive element Rup-1 and at least one downstream resistive element Rdwn-1. The circuit 300 may comprise a second upstream resistive element Rup-2 and a second downstream resistive element Rdwn-2. The resistive elements of the bridge circuit 310 may be balanced in their resistance values. The bridge circuit 310 may also comprise a first tail resistor Rtail-1, wherein the first tail resistor may be electrically coupled to the upstream and downstream resistive elements.

    [0020] The heater circuit 305 comprises a heating element Rheater that may be physically located between the upstream and downstream resistive elements of the bridge circuit 310. According to the invention, the heater circuit 305 also comprises a second tail resistor Rtail-2 that is electrically coupled to the heating element Rheater.

    [0021] According to the invention, the upstream and downstream resistive elements of the bridge circuit 310 change with temperature. The tail resistors Rtail-1 and Rtail-2 are stable with temperature. The tail resistors may be configured to determine one or more thermal properties of a fluid that is passed over the surface of the circuit 300. According to the invention, the second tail resistor is used to determine the thermal conductivity of the fluid. The circuit 300 may be used to determine the mass flow rate of the fluid, and by determining one or more thermal properties of the fluid, the identity of the fluid may be approximated, and the volumetric flow rate may be calculated. Alternatively, a look-up table may be used where it is not necessary to identify the fluid.

    [0022] The mass flow rate may be determined by the bridge 310 using one or more of the following equations:






    where k = gas conductivity, Cp = specific heat, µ = viscosity, ρ = density, and hflow = composite property term for Mass Flow. Heat transfer from the microbridge is mass flow dependent, but also has some additional gas property dependence. With no flow, the heat transfer is dependent on the thermal conductivity of the gas and the thermal conductivity of the microbridge structure. These equations are not intended to be precise but rather capture the overall dependencies.

    [0023] To determine volumetric flow rate, the heat transfer may be restated in terms of volumetric flow using the following equation:



    [0024] The bridge output may be controlled by heat transfer coefficients, for either true mass flow output or volume flow output. The heat transfer coefficients may have gas property dependence as well as geometric and flow dependencies. The dominant gas property in the heat transfer properties may be thermal conductivity, both in the mass flow dependent term and the no-flow term. The relationship between average bridge temperature and applied power gives another relationship with gas properties around the bridge. Putting a "tail" resistor on the heated bridge circuit allows for the total bridge current to be measured, and thereby the power.

    [0025] As an example, when power is fed to the heating element Rheater, molecules in the fluid will transfer heat from the heating element to the upstream and/or downstream resistors, depending on the direction of the fluid flow. Additionally, heat may be dissipated by the fluid away from the heater into the air around the sensor. Thermal properties of the fluid may be determined by monitoring how the heat is transferred by the fluid.

    [0026] According to the invention, the measure of how much heat is transferred by the fluid, or the thermal conductivity, is determined using the second tail resistor Rtail-2, wherein the difference between the voltage supplied to the heating element Rheater (Vheater) and voltage at the second tail resistor Rtail-2 (Vtail-2) indicates the power dissipated by the fluid flowing over the heating element Rheater. If the circuit is run at a constant voltage, the resistance of the heating element Rheater changes rapidly as a function of temperature. Additionally, as the composition of the fluid changes, the power dissipated from the heating element Rheater changes, and an approximately thermal conductivity of the fluid may be determined using the second tail resistor Rtail-2.

    [0027] In addition to the thermal conductivity, the kinematic viscosity is used, according to the present invention, to help compensate the flow sensor output. Typically, the relationship between differential pressure due to flow restriction and flow behavior can be characterized using the pressure as a second order polynomial dependence on the volume flow for close to laminar flow conditions. Under these conditions, the linear dependence on volumetric flow is proportional to the gas viscosity, and the square dependence on volume flow is proportional to the gas density, p, (see Bernoulli's equation ΔP = ½ ρ velocity2), producing the following equation, wherein A1 and A2 are components determined by the size of the flow channel 104 (referring back to FIG. 1).



    [0028] The measured pressure drop (or differential pressure) across the flow channel 104 determined by an independent differential pressure sensor (or more than one pressure sensor 120 and 122) may provide a signal dependent on viscosity and density. Then, the following equations may use the differential pressure ΔPhousing as well as other measured characteristics of the fluid flow to determine the kinematic viscosity of fluid flowing through the sensor. By measuring the differential pressure (e.g., pressure drop, ΔP) across the system, a quadratic equation may be developed for the volumetric flow Vhousing, where:







    [0029] Through testing of known gases, the relationship between standard volumetric flow and kinematic viscosity may be represented by the following equation, where Vgas represents volumetric flow of the gas, Vair represents the volumetric flow of air (which may be determined through testing), γgas represents the kinematic viscosity of the gas, γair represents the kinematic viscosity of air, kair represents the thermal conductivity of air, and kgas represents the thermal conductivity of the gas (as determined above):



    [0030] This relationship may be combined with the above equations to determine the kinematic viscosity of the gas. Since the output of the microbridge indicates the signal for air, the equations can be solved for the kinematic viscosity ratio knowing the density ratio and thermal conductivity ratio.





    [0031] The equation assumes the differential pressure calibration for the housing (e.g., the flow channel 104) is known to determine the A2 and A1 terms are known, the thermal conductivity ratio of the gas under test (determined above) is known, and the density ratio (which is associated with thermal conductivity) is known. Thus, The A2 and A1 terms can be determined and stored during calibration prior to use of the sensor to measure flow. The signals used in this equation to determine kinematic viscosity include the differential heat transfer flow signal (microbridge flow output), the thermal dissipation signal (tail resistor voltage), and the differential pressure generated by flow going through flow sensor.

    [0032] The circuit 300 may be calibrated using air or another known fluid. As an example, the circuit 300 may be used in a sensor configured to detect natural gas. Natural gas includes mostly methane, but may also contain other gases that can affect the thermal properties of the fluid, and therefore the sensor reading. These affects may be compensated for by also monitoring the thermal properties of the fluid and correcting the sensor reading accordingly. As another example, the circuit 300 may be used in a sensor configured to detect fluid in the medical field. Anesthesia gases may comprise mostly air with trace gases that can affect the thermal properties and therefore the sensor reading. These affects may be compensated for by also monitoring the thermal properties of the fluid, and correcting the sensor reading as described herein.

    [0033] Referring now to FIG. 4, another circuit 400 is shown, wherein the circuit 400 comprises a bridge circuit 410 and a heater circuit 405. The circuit 400 may be used concurrently with a flow sensor, wherein the circuit 400 may be configured to determine thermal properties of the fluid, but may not be configured to determine the flow rate of the fluid. The circuit 400 may function similarly to the circuit 300 described above, wherein the circuit 400 may comprise only one upstream resistive R1 element and one downstream resistive element R2.

    [0034] When the circuit 400 is used with another sensor for detecting the flow rate, the circuit 400 may be powered less frequently than the flow sensor. For example, while the flow sensor may take readings every 1 second, the circuit 400 (that is configured to determine thermal properties of the fluid) may take readings every 30 seconds. This may reduce the power usage when compared to the circuit 300 described above.

    [0035] FIG. 5 is a top view of an example flow sensor die 500. The flow sensor die has an etched cavity 502 that extends under a membrane 504. The etched cavity 502 helps to thermally isolate the membrane 504 from the substrate 508 of the flow sensor die 500. The example flow sensor die 500 includes a slit 510 through the membrane 504 that extends transverse across the membrane 504. During use, the flow sensor die 500 is positioned in a flow channel.

    [0036] To help explain the operation of the flow sensor die 500, it is assumed that fluid flows over the flow sensor die 500 in the direction indicated by arrow 512. When so provided, the two upstream resistive elements RU1 and RU2 are positioned on the membrane 504 upstream of the slit 510, and the two downstream resistive elements RD1 and RD2 are positioned on the membrane 504 downstream of the slit 510. The heater resistor Rh is positioned between the upstream resistive elements RU1 and RU2 and the downstream resistive elements RD1 and RD2. In the example shown, the heater resistor Rh includes two legs connected in series, with one leg positioned on either side of the slit 510. The example flow sensor die 500 is one possible layout of the schematic circuit diagrams shown in FIGS. 2-4. This example flow sensor die 500 is considered a test die, and these connections are intended to be made external to the flow sensor die 500. However, they could be made on the flow sensor die 500 if desired.


    Claims

    1. A sensor (100) for sensing a flow rate of a fluid, the sensor comprising:

    an upstream resistive element (Rup-1) having a first resistance that changes with temperature;

    a downstream resistive element (Rdwn-1) having a second resistance that changes with temperature, wherein the downstream resistive element (Rdwn-1) is situated downstream of the upstream resistive element (Rup-1) in a flow direction of the fluid, wherein the upstream resistive element (Rup-1) and the downstream resistive element (Rdwn-1) are operatively connected in a bridge circuit (310);

    at least one tail resistor (Rtail-1), wherein the at least one tail resistor (Rtail-1) is stable with temperature;

    a heating element (Rheater) configured to heat the fluid flowing through a flow channel (104), wherein the at least one tail resistor (Rtail-1) is electrically connected in series to the heating element (Rheater);

    at least one pressure sensor (120, 122) configured to determine a differential pressure in the flow direction of the fluid; and

    a circuitry configured to use the differential pressure with a determined thermal conductivity to determine a kinematic viscosity of the fluid, and compensate an output of the bridge circuit (310), wherein the circuitry is configured to measure a voltage difference between the heating element (Rheater) and the tail resistor (Rtail-1), wherein the voltage difference is indicative of power dissipated by the fluid, and determine the thermal conductivity of the fluid using the voltage difference between the heating element (Rheater) and the tail resistor (Rtail-1).


     
    2. The sensor (100) of claim 1, wherein circuitry is configured to determine a fluid flow correction factor using the thermal conductivity of the fluid and the kinematic viscosity of the fluid.
     
    3. The sensor (100) of claim 1, wherein the at least one pressure sensor (120, 122) comprises an inlet pressure sensor (120) and an outlet pressure sensor (122).
     
    4. The sensor (100) of claim 1, wherein the sensor comprises a flow channel (104).
     
    5. The sensor (100) of claim 1, wherein the at least one pressure sensor (120, 122) is configured to measure the differential pressure between an inlet (106) of the flow channel (104) and an outlet (108) of the flow channel (104).
     
    6. A method for determining fluid flow, the method comprising:

    supplying power to a bridge circuit (310) in a flow sensor (110), wherein the bridge circuit (310) comprises an upstream resistive element (Rup-1), a downstream resistive element (Rdwn-1), a heating element (Rheater), and at least one tail resistor (Rtail-1) electrically connected in series to the heating element (Rheater), wherein the upstream resistive element (Rup-1) and the downstream resistive element (Rdwn-1) have respective resistances that change with temperature, the tail resistor (Rtail-1) having a resistance value that is stable with resistance, and the heating element (Rheater) is configured to heat the fluid flowing through a flow channel (104), wherein the flow sensor (110) comprises at least one pressure sensor (120, 122) disposed in a flow channel (104) of the flow sensor (110);

    passing the fluid over the bridge circuit (310) via the flow channel (104);

    measuring a voltage difference between the heating element (Rheater) and the at least one tail resistor (Rtail-1), wherein the voltage difference is indicative of power dissipated by the fluid;

    determining thermal conductivity of the fluid based on the voltage difference;

    determining a differential pressure between an inlet of the flow channel (104) and an outlet of the flow channel (104); and

    determining a kinematic viscosity of the fluid using the thermal conductivity and the differential pressure, the kinematic viscosity being used for compensating an output from the bridge circuit (310).


     
    7. The method of claim 6, wherein determining the differential pressure comprises comparing a signal from an inlet pressure sensor (120) to a signal from an outlet pressure sensor (122).
     
    8. The method of claim 6, further comprising restricting the fluid flowing through the flow channel (104) near the bridge circuit (310).
     
    9. The method of claim 6, further comprising determining a fluid flow rate correction factor using the thermal conductivity and the kinematic viscosity.
     
    10. The method of claim 6, further comprising:

    determining a fluid flow rate through a sensor; and

    adjusting the fluid flow rate based on the kinematic viscosity of the fluid.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Sensor (100) zum Erfassen einer Strömungsrate eines Fluids, wobei der Sensor umfasst:

    ein stromaufwärtiges Widerstandselement (Rup-1) mit einem ersten Widerstand, der sich mit der Temperatur ändert;

    ein stromabwärtiges Widerstandselement (Rdwn-1) mit einem zweiten Widerstand, der sich mit der Temperatur ändert, wobei das stromabwärtige Widerstandselement (Rdwn-1) stromabwärts des stromaufwärtigen Widerstandselements (Rup-1) in einer Strömungsrichtung des Fluids angeordnet ist, wobei das stromaufwärtige Widerstandselement (Rup-1) und das stromabwärtige Widerstandselement (Rdwn-1) betriebsmäßig in einer Brückenschaltung (310) verbunden sind;

    mindestens einen Endwiderstand (Rtail-1), wobei der mindestens eine Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) temperaturstabil ist;

    ein Heizelement (Rheater), das dazu konfiguriert ist, das durch einen Strömungskanal (104) strömende Fluid zu erwärmen, wobei der mindestens eine Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) mit dem Heizelement (Rheater) elektrisch in Reihe geschaltet ist;

    mindestens einen Drucksensor (120, 122), der dazu konfiguriert ist, einen Differenzdruck in der Strömungsrichtung des Fluids zu ermitteln; und

    eine Schaltung, die dazu konfiguriert ist, den Differenzdruck mit einer bestimmten Wärmeleitfähigkeit zu verwenden, um eine kinematische Viskosität des Fluids zu ermitteln, und eine Ausgabe der Brückenschaltung (310) zu kompensieren, wobei die Schaltung dazu konfiguriert ist, eine Spannungsdifferenz zwischen dem Heizelement (Rheater) und dem Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) zu messen, wobei die Spannungsdifferenz die von dem Fluid dissipierte Leistung angibt, und die Wärmeleitfähigkeit des Fluids unter Verwendung der Spannungsdifferenz zwischen dem Heizelement (Rheater) und dem Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) zu ermitteln.


     
    2. Sensor (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Schaltung dazu konfiguriert ist, einen Korrekturfaktor für die Fluidströmung unter Verwendung der Wärmeleitfähigkeit des Fluids und der kinematischen Viskosität des Fluids zu ermitteln.
     
    3. Sensor (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der mindestens eine Drucksensor (120, 122) einen Einlassdrucksensor (120) und einen Auslassdrucksensor (122) umfasst.
     
    4. Sensor (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Sensor einen Strömungskanal (104) umfasst.
     
    5. Sensor (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der mindestens eine Drucksensor (120, 122) dazu konfiguriert ist, den Differenzdruck zwischen einem Einlass (106) des Strömungskanals (104) und einem Auslass (108) des Strömungskanals (104) zu messen.
     
    6. Verfahren zum Ermitteln einer Fluidströmung, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Zuführen von Energie zu einer Brückenschaltung (310) in einem Strömungssensor (110), wobei die Brückenschaltung (310) ein stromaufwärtiges Widerstandselement (Rup-1), ein stromabwärtiges Widerstandselement (Rdwn-1), ein Heizelement (Rheater) und mindestens einen Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) umfasst, der mit dem Heizelement (Rheater) elektrisch in Reihe geschaltet ist, wobei das stromaufwärtige Widerstandselement (Rup-1) und das stromabwärtige Widerstandselement (Rdwn-1) jeweilige Widerstände aufweisen, die sich mit der Temperatur ändern, wobei der Endwiderstand (Rtail-1) einen Widerstandswert aufweist, der mit dem Widerstand stabil ist, und das Heizelement (Rheater) dazu konfiguriert ist, das durch einen Strömungskanal (104) strömende Fluid zu erwärmen, wobei der Strömungssensor (110) mindestens einen Drucksensor (120, 122) umfasst, der in einem Strömungskanal (104) des Strömungssensors (110) angeordnet ist;

    Leiten des Fluids über die Brückenschaltung (310) durch den Strömungskanal (104);

    Messen einer Spannungsdifferenz zwischen dem Heizelement (Rheater) und dem mindestens einen Endwiderstand (Rtail-1), wobei die Spannungsdifferenz die von dem Fluid dissipierte Leistung angibt;

    Ermitteln der Wärmeleitfähigkeit des Fluids basierend auf der Spannungsdifferenz;

    Ermitteln eines Differenzdrucks zwischen einem Einlass des Strömungskanals (104) und einem Auslass des Strömungskanals (104); und

    Ermitteln einer kinematischen Viskosität des Fluids unter Verwendung der Wärmeleitfähigkeit und des Differenzdrucks, wobei die kinematische Viskosität zum Kompensieren einer Ausgabe der Brückenschaltung (310) verwendet wird.


     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, wobei das Ermitteln des Differenzdrucks das Vergleichen eines Signals von einem Einlassdrucksensor (120) mit einem Signal von einem Auslassdrucksensor (122) umfasst.
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend das Beschränken des durch den Strömungskanal (104) strömenden Fluids nahe der Brückenschaltung (310).
     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend das Ermitteln eines Korrekturfaktors für die Fluidströmungsrate unter Verwendung der Wärmeleitfähigkeit und der kinematischen Viskosität.
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, ferner Folgendes umfassend:

    Ermitteln einer Fluidströmungsrate durch einen Sensor; und

    Anpassen der Fluidströmungsrate basierend auf der kinematischen Viskosität des Fluids.


     


    Revendications

    1. Capteur (100) de détection d'un débit d'un fluide, le capteur comprenant :

    un élément résistif amont (Rup-1), dont une première résistance varie avec la température ;

    un élément résistif aval (Rdwn-1), dont une seconde résistance varie avec la température, dans lequel l'élément résistif aval (Rdwn-1) est situé en aval de l'élément résistif amont (Rup-1) suivant une direction d'écoulement du fluide, dans lequel l'élément résistif amont (Rup-1) et l'élément résistif aval (Rdwn-1) sont fonctionnellement connectés dans un circuit en pont (310) ;

    au moins une résistance de queue (Rtail-1), dans lequel l'au moins une résistance de queue (Rtail-1) est stable avec la température ;

    un élément chauffant (Rheater), conçu pour chauffer le fluide s'écoulant à travers un canal d'écoulement (104), dans lequel l'au moins une résistance de queue (Rtail-1) est connectée électriquement en série à l'élément chauffant (Rheater) ;

    au moins un capteur de pression (120, 122), conçu pour déterminer une pression différentielle dans le sens d'écoulement du fluide ; et

    un circuit, conçu pour utiliser la pression différentielle avec une conductivité thermique déterminée pour déterminer une viscosité cinématique du fluide et pour compenser une sortie du circuit en pont (310), dans lequel le circuit est conçu pour mesurer une différence de tension entre l'élément chauffant (Rheater) et la résistance de queue (Rtail-1), dans lequel la différence de tension indique la puissance dissipée par le fluide, et pour déterminer la conductivité thermique du fluide en utilisant la différence de tension entre l'élément chauffant (Rheater) et la résistance de queue (Rtail-1).


     
    2. Capteur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le circuit est conçu pour déterminer un facteur de correction d'écoulement de fluide en utilisant la conductivité thermique du fluide et la viscosité cinématique du fluide.
     
    3. Capteur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'au moins un capteur de pression (120, 122) comprend un capteur de pression d'entrée (120) et un capteur de pression de sortie (122).
     
    4. Capteur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le capteur comprend un canal d'écoulement (104).
     
    5. Capteur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'au moins un capteur de pression (120, 122) est conçu pour mesurer la pression différentielle entre une entrée (106) du canal d'écoulement (104) et une sortie (108) du canal d'écoulement (104).
     
    6. Procédé de détermination d'un écoulement de fluide, le procédé comprenant :

    l'alimentation électrique d'un circuit en pont (310) dans un débitmètre (110), dans lequel le circuit en pont (310) comprend un élément résistif amont (Rup-1), un élément résistif aval (Rdwn-1), un élément chauffant (Rheater) et au moins une résistance de queue (Rtail-1) connectée électriquement en série à l'élément chauffant (Rheater), dans lequel l'élément résistif amont (Rup-1) et l'élément résistif aval (Rdwn-1) ont des résistances respectives qui varient avec la température, la résistance de queue (Rtail-1) ayant une valeur de résistance stable avec la résistance et l'élément chauffant (Rheater) étant conçu pour chauffer le fluide s'écoulant à travers un canal d'écoulement (104), dans lequel le débitmètre (110) comprend au moins un capteur de pression (120, 122) disposé dans un canal d'écoulement (104) du débitmètre (110) ;

    le passage du fluide sur le circuit en pont (310) via le canal d'écoulement (104) ;

    la mesure d'une différence de tension entre l'élément chauffant (Rheater) et l'au moins une résistance de queue (Rtail-1), dans lequel la différence de tension indique la puissance dissipée par le fluide ;

    la détermination de la conductivité thermique du fluide selon la différence de tension ;

    la détermination d'une pression différentielle entre une entrée du canal d'écoulement (104) et une sortie du canal d'écoulement (104) ; et

    la détermination d'une viscosité cinématique du fluide en utilisant la conductivité thermique et la pression différentielle, la viscosité cinématique servant à compenser une sortie du circuit en pont (310).


     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la détermination de la pression différentielle comprend la comparaison d'un signal provenant d'un capteur de pression d'entrée (120) à un signal provenant d'un capteur de pression de sortie (122).
     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre la restriction du fluide s'écoulant à travers le canal d'écoulement (104) à proximité du circuit en pont (310).
     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre la détermination d'un facteur de correction du débit de fluide à l'aide de la conductivité thermique et de la viscosité cinématique.
     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre :

    la détermination d'un débit de fluide à travers un capteur ; et

    le réglage du débit de fluide selon la viscosité cinématique du fluide.


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description