Hydrogen and pressure sensors ? What must be observed?

When pressure sensors come into contact with hydrogen, this often results in difficulties. Unfortunately, I very often notice in my job our customers have no idea of this prior to use. That is why they often do not even tell us that their medium contains hydrogen. We only learn when we get a complaint. But why do we get yourself a complaint? Why is especially hydrogen so critical to pressure sensors?
A basic rule is that a lot of metals become brittle when exposed to hydrogen. Expert that diffuse in to the metal grid change the strength of the material. In the worst case, this results in cracks in the material. Or to put it simply, the pressure sensor starts leaking or is completely destroyed. Regarding pressure sensors, in particular thin membranes necessary for measuring pressure play a decisive role. Atomic hydrogen will not only penetrate the metal, but additionally go through it by diffusion.
Solution has several effects: When piezoresistive measuring principles are used, it becomes critical if hydrogen reacts with the internal transmission medium or accumulates there. This initially only falsifies the measurement results, but can later on also lead to complete destruction of the sensor in individual cases. The addition of hydrogen also changes the instrumentation characteristics of the resistance structures of the measurement bridge of thin-film sensors. Despite being reversible, this technique leads to a detuning of the bridge at the very least temporarily, resulting in a falsification of the measurement signal.
However, the effects described above occur in different materials differently. Therefore the effects of hydrogen can be lowered substantially by selecting suitable materials.
Note
Further information on our pressure sensors and about hydrogen can be found on the WIKA website. If you are using hydrogen because the medium, your contact will gladly recommend an optimum solution for the application.

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