Microfabricated Nickel Based Sensors for Hositle and High Pressure Environments

  • Author / Creator
    Holt, Christopher M. B.
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • de Klerk, Arno (Chemical and Materials Engineering
    • Gallart, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Mitlin, David (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Nychka, John (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Shafai, Cyrus (Electrical Engineering, University of Manitoba)