Piezoresistive pressure sensors
can be classified in terms of pressure ranges they measure, temperature ranges of operation, and most importantly the type of pressure they measure. In terms of pressure type, pressure sensors can be divided into five categories:
Absolute piezoresistive pressure transducer
This transducer measures the pressure relative to perfect vacuum pressure (0 PSI or no pressure). Atmospheric pressure, is 101.325 kPa (14.7 PSI) at sea level with reference to vacuum.
Gauge piezoresistive pressure transducer
is used in different applications because it can be calibrated to measure the pressure relative to a given atmospheric pressure at a given location. A tire pressure gauge is an example of gauge pressure indication. When the tire pressure gauge reads 0 PSI, there is really 14.7 PSI (atmospheric pressure) in the tire.
Vacuum piezoresistive pressure transducer
is used to measure pressure less than the atmospheric pressure at a given location. This has the potential to cause some confusion as industry may refer to a vacuum sensor as one which is referenced to either atmospheric pressure (i.e. measure Negative gauge pressure) or relative to absolute vacuum.
Differential piezoresistive pressure transducer
measures the difference between two or more pressures introduced as inputs to the sensing unit, for example, measuring the pressure drop across an oil filter. Differential pressure is also used to measure flow or level in pressurized vessels.
Sealed piezoresistive pressure transducer
is the same as the gauge pressure sensor except that it is previously calibrated by manufacturers to measure pressure relative to sea level pressure