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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Made to Take the Pressure Paul Golata

Tack pressing against a blue balloon

Some got their first experience of the British rock band Queen from the movie Wayne’s World released in 1992; but, I recall first hearing them in middle school in late 1975. Back then, Queen’s six-minute, key-changing, multi-genre hit, Bohemian Rhapsody, was played on everyone’s portable transistor radios throughout the hallways of the school. In addition to Bohemian Rhapsody, the band had many other famous hits. One of my favorites includes Queen's collaboration with the legendary David Bowie (1947–2016) in the making the song Under Pressure in 1981.

Pressure is the continuous force exerted on or against an object or subject by something in relation to it. The song points to the reality that the human race suffers from the pressure and many stresses of life resulting from a socially broken, fractured, and chaotic world. With this everyday truth in mind, the song asks for society to take a risk, putting into action the caring for others.

It is hard to measure the pressures within and on society and its members—good thing I live in an engineer's world and get to quantify more tangible things.

As engineers, we are often asked to ensure that our designs can withstand continuous or sustained physical forces exerted upon them by their operational environments. Fortunately, engineers have technological tools at their disposal to assist in measuring these forces. Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, designs and manufactures many of these technologies to address some of the world’s toughest challenges that arise from revolutionary macrotrends in science, technology, and society (Figure 1).

Honeywell Logo

Figure 1: Honeywell creates solutions to improve the quality of life of people around the globe. (Source: Honeywell)

Under Pressure

Pressure comes in various magnitudes. Often pressure is very low in quantity, yet it is important to be able to accurately sense the changes and variations in these low pressures. In such a situation Honeywell’s MPR MicroPressure Sensors yield excellent results (Figure 2).

Honeywell MPR MicroPressure Sensors

Figure 2: Honeywell MPR MicroPressure Sensors are piezo-resistive pressure sensors with digital output. (Source: Mouser)

MPR MicroPressure Sensors are robust 5mm × 5mm piezo-resistive silicon pressure sensors offering digital output—24-bit digital I2C or SPI-compatible—with new levels of versatility. Piezein—the Greek word from which piezo-derives—translates “to squeeze, to press, or to push.” Piezo-resistive silicon pressure sensors work by generating an electric signal in proportion to the amount of physical pressure they experience.

These sensors are calibrated and compensated over a specific temperature range (0ºC to 50ºC) for sensor offset, sensitivity, temperature effects, and non-linearity using an on-board Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). Extremely energy-efficient, these sensors typically consume less than 10mW of power, thereby reducing system power requirements and enabling extended battery life. These sensors meet the requirements of higher volume consumer and non-consumer medical devices and commercial appliance applications.

The MPR Series’ very small form factor enables portability by addressing mass, size, and space restrictions. These are the smallest stainless steel ported micropressure sensors available, and their plug-and-play feature provides ease-of-implementation and system-level connectivity. The MPR Series enhances performance through reduced conversion requirements and a direct interface to microprocessors. In addition, the MPR MicroPressure Sensors meet IPC/JEDEC J-STD-020D.1 Moisture Sensitivity Level 1 requirements. They are available in multiple port configurations and are liquid-media compatible.

To get started quickly, look at Honeywell’s MicroPressure Evaluation Boards (Figure 3). The evaluation boards offer a 3.3VDC supply voltage range. These boards feature stainless steel pressure ports, an Internet of Things (IoT) ready interface, and a 6kPa–250kPa range.

 Honeywell MicroPressure Evaluation Board 

Figure 3: Honeywell MicroPressure Evaluation Boards provide an easy way to demonstrate and evaluate the capabilities of the MPR MicroPressure Sensors. (Source: Mouser)


As Queen and David Bowie said, “Insanity laughs under pressure.” Don’t make this your last dance. Take the pressure off yourself. Put the pressure onto something engineered to take it. Honeywell MPR MicroPressure Sensors are just the compact, high-accuracy, compensated, and amplified products you need to move the design pressure from off your shoulders.

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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).

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