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Evaluation of Automotive Mass Airflow Sensors for Animal Environment Research and Control Applications

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1110839.(doi:10.13031/2013.37335)
Authors:   Joseph L Purswell, William C Adams, Michael D Montross, Jeremiah D Davis
Keywords:   Calorimetry, heat and moisture, controlled environment

Mass air flow is an important parameter to consider in animal research applications, especially for the generation of heat and moisture production data. The high flow rates and low operating pressures in animal research facilities present a unique and costly challenge for measurement of mass air flow rates. Mass air flow sensors for automotive applications are designed for mass production and are inexpensive. In addition, automotive sensors are designed for minimum restriction of intake air supplied to internal combustion engines. Two commonly available mass air flow sensors for passenger vehicle engines were compared against a NIST-traceable mass air flow sensor to assess accuracy over a range of temperatures and flow rates. Air was supplied from an environmental chamber at 10, 20, and 30 C using a variable speed blower. Concurrent measurements of mass air flow were recorded from the automotive sensors and the reference sensor over a range of 60 to 425 m3h-1. Regression analysis showed that a quadratic relationship exists between output frequency and mass air flow through the sensors; coefficients of determination (R2) exceeded 0.99 for all cases tested. Full scale flow error for the hot-wire and hot-film sensor were 1.0% and 1.3%, respectively. Automotive mass air flow sensors could provide a more cost effect means of measuring mass air flow in animal research applications.

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