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Pressure Sensor Information
Oct 15, 2016


Pressure sensors can be classified in terms of pressure ranges they measure, temperature ranges of operation, and most importantly the type of pressure they measure. Pressure sensors are variously named according to their purpose, but the same technology may be used under different names.

  • Absolute pressure sensor

This sensor measures the pressure relative to perfect vacuum.

  • Gauge pressure sensor

This sensor measures the pressure relative to atmospheric pressure. A tire pressure gauge is an example of gauge pressure measurement; when it indicates zero, then the pressure it is measuring is the same as the ambient pressure.

  • Vacuum pressure sensor

This term can cause confusion. It may be used to describe a sensor that measures pressures below atmospheric pressure, showing the difference between that low pressure and atmospheric pressure (i.e. negative gauge pressure), but it may also be used to describe a sensor that measures low pressure relative to perfect vacuum (i.e. absolute pressure).

  • Differential pressure sensor

This sensor measures the difference between two pressures, one connected to each side of the sensor. Differential pressure sensors are used to measure many properties, such as pressure drops across oil filters or air filters, fluid levels (by comparing the pressure above and below the liquid) or flow rates (by measuring the change in pressure across a restriction). Technically speaking, most pressure sensors are really differential pressure sensors; for example a gauge pressure sensor is merely a differential pressure sensor in which one side is open to the ambient atmosphere.

  • Sealed pressure sensor

This sensor is similar to a gauge pressure sensor except that it measures pressure relative to some fixed pressure rather than the ambient atmospheric pressure (which varies according to the location and the weather).