How Do Mass Air Flow Sensors Work?

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What Are Mass Air Flow Sensors? 

Mass air flow sensors are detection devices that are used to measure mass flow rate, and they play a critical role in the function of various medical equipment. Respirators, ventilators, anesthesia equipment, oxygen concentrators, and many other medical devices rely on mass air flow sensors to monitor and control the flow of air, oxygen, and other gasses for various diagnostic and treatment procedures.  

How Mass Air Flow Sensors Work

Mass air flow sensors detect the flow of gas, air, and oxygen. This data is converted into measurable signals and transmitted to the system’s computer to monitor flow rate, volume, and other important factors. The exact role of a mass air flow sensor depends on the type of equipment it is used in. Common equipment includes:

  • Ventilator systems. Mass air flow sensors are used in ventilation systems to monitor the patient’s breathing cycle. The flow of inhaled and exhaled gas is converted into electrical signals, which are transmitted to the processing unit to detect and monitor minute ventilation, inhaled and exhaled tidal volume, and flow rate. This data will help determine any abnormalities.
  • Anesthesia machines. Mass air flow sensors measure the flow of oxygen, air, and nitrous oxide to create the proper gas composition for the patient. It also detects the concentration of anesthetic gas to ensure that the machine administers a safe and effective amount.
  • Oxygen machines. Mass air flow sensors are used to monitor and control air flow rate from the oxygen machine.

How it Works

Mass air flow sensors contain a thermal sensor and a heating source. Once gas begins flowing through the heating source, it transports the heat away, which changes the temperature difference between the heating source and the thermal sensor. This change is used to determine the energy required to maintain the sensor at the same temperature, which is then interpreted into a value. This value is transmitted through a communication interface to calculate flow.

Popular Mass Air Flow Sensor Designs

There are two main types of mass air flow sensors, each of which measure frequency.

  • Analog Mass Air Flow Sensors. Analog sensors produce a variable voltage output
  • Digital Mass Air Flow Sensors. Digital sensors produce a frequency output.

Partner with Servoflo

Mass air flow sensors are crucial to the accuracy and reliability of various medical equipment. At Servoflo, we offer cost-effective and high-performance mass air flow sensors for our OEM customers. While our primary focus is the medical industry, we are also proud to serve the energy, food and beverage, environmental, machinery, and many other industries. Our high-quality products, commitment to customer service, and expert product design services make Servoflo the ideal supplier for your mass air flow sensor needs.