How does weightlessness affect the flow of fluids and circulatory systems? In May 2014, a liquid flow sensor from Sensirion will aim to answer this question when it rockets off into space.
The rocket launch will transport an experimental setup from the Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota to the International Space Station. Part of this system is the LS16 liquid flow sensor from Sensirion.
Once on board the ISS, the liquid flow sensor will measure the flow of demineralised water generated by a piezoelectric pump in zero gravity, and compare the results with those of a control experiment on earth.
The findings from the space-based experiment will benefit numerous applications in fluid dynamics, physics, biology and hemodynamics (the forces involved in the circulation of blood).
According to the research team, the Sensiron LS16 sensor has proven itself accurate, precise and durable.
Sensiron’s development team helped advise on modifications to the LS16 to ruggedize it against the enormous forces during lift-off. For example, the team replaced the sensor’s capillary glass tubes with robust capillary steel tubes.
Sensirion AG, headquartered in Staefa, Switzerland, is the world's leading manufacturer of digital microsensors and systems. The product range includes humidity and temperature sensors, mass flow controllers, gas and liquid flow sensors, and differential pressure sensors.