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Microfabricated Nickel Based Sensors for Hositle and High Pressure Environments Open Access


Other title
Oil Well Logging
Micro Sensor
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Holt, Christopher M. B.
Supervisor and department
Mitlin, David (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Mitlin, David (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
de Klerk, Arno (Chemical and Materials Engineering
Nychka, John (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Shafai, Cyrus (Electrical Engineering, University of Manitoba)
Gallart, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis outlines the development of two platforms for integrating microfabricated sensors with high pressure feedthroughs for application in hostile high temperature high pressure environments. An application in oil well production logging is explored and two sensors were implemented with these platforms for application in an oil well. The first platform developed involved microfabrication directly onto a cut and polished high pressure feedthrough. This technique enables a system that is more robust than the wire bonded silicon die technique used for MEMS integration in pressure sensors. Removing wire bonds from the traditional MEMS package allows for direct interface of a microfabricated sensor with a hostile high pressure fluid environment which is not currently possible. During the development of this platform key performance metrics included pressure testing to 70MPa and temperature cycling from 20°C to 200°C. This platform enables electronics integration with a variety of microfabricated electrical and thermal based sensors which can be immersed within the oil well environment. The second platform enabled free space fabrication of nickel microfabricated devices onto an array of pins using a thick tin sacrificial layer. This technique allowed microfabrication of metal MEMS that are released by distances of 1cm from their substrate. This method is quite flexible and allows for fabrication to be done on any pin array substrate regardless of surface quality. Being able to place released MEMS sensors directly onto traditional style circuit boards, ceramic circuit boards, electrical connectors, ribbon cables, pin headers, or high pressure feedthroughs greatly improves the variety of possible applications and reduces fabrication costs. These two platforms were then used to fabricate thermal conductivity sensors that showed excellent performance for distinguishing between oil, water, and gas phases. Testing was conducted at various flow rates and performance of the released platform was shown to be better than the performance seen in the anchored sensors while both platforms were significantly better than a simply fabricated wrapped wire sensor. The anchored platform was also used to demonstrate a traditional capacitance based fluid dielectric sensor which was found to work similarly to conventional commercial capacitance probes while being significantly smaller in size.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Electrocatalytic hydrogenation of 2-cyclohexen-1-one in a high sulfur environment using a carbon-supported nanostructured tungsten sulfide catalyst CMB Holt, S Murphy, MR Gray and D Mitlin Catalysis Communications, 12 (2010) 314-317 doi:10.1016/j.catcom.2010.09.028

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