Microsensor Measures Shear Stress In Wind Tunnels

IC² claims it has developed an industry-first microsensor capable of directly measuring time-resolved wall shear stress in wind tunnel testing.  It says accurately measuring wall shear stress has historically been very difficult and existing sensor technology cannot accurately measure wall shear stress.  The result of two decades of research and testing, the company’s DirectShear Sensors measure wall shear stress directly and accurately for both mean and fluctuating measurements.


The high-bandwidth, high-resolution, silicon-micromachined differential capacitive shear stress sensors directly measure wall shear stress through a micromachined (MEMS) sensing head with backside contacts. This approach enables features that include:


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  • Direct capacitive transduction to ensure time-resolved, accurate measurements and remove the need for a unique calibration between heat transfer and shear stress.
  • Hydraulically smooth sensor with backside contacts to eliminate any disturbances to the flow.
  • Micromachining to enable high spatial resolution and high-performance operation, offering bandwidths up to 20 kHz and dynamic ranges up to 110 dB. 

Originally developed for NASA, the sensors are now commercially available.  A suite of sensor models is available for varying applications and requirements such as:

  • Instrumentation-grade skin friction measurement in subsonic and transonic wind tunnels
  • Fundamental scientific research - aerodynamic drag, turbulence, etc.
  • Detection of flow separation 

For more information, specs, and prices, checkout the DirectShear Sensors product portal



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