The power consumption and sensitivity of the sensor should be predicted in order to ensure that it will perform acceptably in the micropump system. The placement of the sensor in the middle of the flow channel is ideal for maximum sensitivity, but the exact size and shape of the sensor may also be adjusted to maximize the sensitivity and reduce the power loss. Theoretical analysis of the sensor can be performed by programming governing equations, sensor geometries, and material properties into MATLAB. Trends are extracted and optimum design features can be determined. The typical sensor layout is shown in Figure 1.
The process of configuring and running this massive set of simulations is facilitated using MATLAB. A MATLAB script is written that will go through the different area, ratio, and flow rate values, and create an input file read by ANSYS. When one simulation is completed, the temperature data of the heating element is written to a text file, and ANSYS will continue on to the next simulation. Only the temperature of the heating element must be recorded, since this represents the overheat temperature of the sensor. The heat generation divided by the overheat temperature is used to calculate the thermal conductance. Another MATLAB script is written to read all of the text files produced by ANSYS, and to analyze the results. All of the MATLAB scripts written to aid in the ANSYS simulation and data analysis can be found in this project.