A novel measurement method for the thermal properties of liquids by utilizing a bridge-based micromachined sensor
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In recent decades, the demands for online monitoring of liquids in various applications have increased significantly. In this context, the sensing of the thermal transport parameters of liquids (i.e. thermal conductivity and diffusivity) may be an interesting alternative to well-established monitoring parameters like permittivity, mass density or shear viscosity. We developed a micromachined thermal property sensor, applicable to non-flowing liquids, featuring three in parallel microbridges, which carry either a heater or one of in total two thermistors. Its active sensing region was designed to achieve almost negligible spurious thermal shunts between heater and thermistors. This enables the adoption of a simple two-dimensional model to describe the heat transfer from the heater to the thermistors, which is mainly governed by the thermal properties of the sample liquid. Founded on this theoretical model, a novel measurement method for the thermal parameters was devised that relies solely on the frequency response of the measured peak temperature and allows simultaneous extraction of the thermal conductivity and diffusivity of liquids. In this contribution, we describe the device prototype, the model, the deduced measurement method and the experimental verification by means of test measurements carried out on five sample liquids.