Pressure Sensing

Pressure sensor for extreme contact forces

Aim

Materials and production processes for pressure sensors able to sustain extremely high contact forces.  

Contact

Dipl.-Ing. Helge Decho (coating development)
Dipl.-Ing. Cord Winkelmann (measuring techniques, structuring)

Figure 1
Test structures for process development for realisation of roller bearings with integrated sensors.

Summary

Thin film pressure and temperature sensors on tools and functional surfaces of highly loaded components still lack the level of functionality, endurance and reliability needed in most commercial applications. The project joins the forces of materials science and micro systems technology to tackle this problem and develop a pressure sensor able to withstand highest mechanical loads. The solution foreseen is based on deposition of a piezoresistive functional layer and further, electrically isolating layers covered by a wear resistant protective coating. Deposition is done via magnetron sputtering, while the functional structures of the individual layers are realised using lithographic techniques. As substrates, plane samples of different grades of steel such as 100Cr6 are used for proof of concept. Functionality and durability of the thin film sensor when subjected to the typical loading conditions seen in roller bearings are evaluated using linear guides.

Keywords

Contact load, pressure sensor, thin film technology, physical vapour deposition (PVD), magnetron sputtering, lithography