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Thick Film Materials for Strain Gage Applications
Keywords: Sensors, Strain gage, Thcik film resistore
Thick film materials have been used for many years in various electronic sensor applications. Temperature, pressure, position, and flow are some of the properties that can be measured using circuits built from thick film microelectronics. Cermet thick film materials are ideally suited to these applications due to their robust nature, precise tolerances and resistance to mechanical, thermal and chemical stresses. These sensors are used in automotive, industrial, aerospace, medical, and other applications where harsh environments and critical properties are required. As more and more of the world are being controlled by computer technology, sensors that connect the physical world to the electronic world are needed. There is an expanding interest in using thick film materials for strain gage hybrids. Strain gages can be used in automotive applications for sensing pressure, industrial applications for measuring displacement and even in civil applications where they are used to measure mechanical stress. This paper will discuss the actual design of various stain gage devices using thick film materials. The basic concept is that when the thick film resistor is flexed, it shifts in resistance. Important parameters of the thick film resistor are the gage factor, the amount of resistance shift compared to the strain, and the hysterisis of the resistor, which is how close the resistance comes back to the original value. The variation in resistance changes the voltage output of the strain gage device (such as a Wheatstone bridge). This modification in voltage is what allows the circuit to work. Heraeus Incorporated Thick Film Materials Division has a full line of materials for manufacturing strain gage circuits. The paper will list comparisons of different material sets and technologies that will help the designer select a specific technology. The paper will also report on results from various material and substrate combinations. Key Words: Strain gage Thick film resistors
James L. Wood, Technical Service Engineer
Heraeus Incorporated - Thick Film Materials Division
W. Conshohocken, Pa.

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