Vaisala BAROCAP® Technology

Vaisala Barocap Wafer in hand

First introduced in 1985, Vaisala BAROCAP®  is a silicon-based micromechanical pressure sensor that offers reliable performance in a wide variety of applications, from meteorology to industrial measurements. Combining two powerful technologies – single-crystal silicon material and capacitive measurement – BAROCAP sensors feature low hysteresis combined with excellent accuracy and long-term stability.

How it works

BAROCAP is a micromechanical sensor that uses dimensional changes in its silicon membrane to measure pressure. As the surrounding pressure increases or decreases, the membrane bends, thereby increasing or decreasing the height of the vacuum gap inside the sensor. The opposite sides of the vacuum gap act as electrodes, and as the distance between the two electrodes changes, the sensor capacitance changes. The capacitance is measured and converted into a pressure reading. The BAROCAP sensor’s properties – good elasticity, low hysteresis, excellent repeatability, low temperature dependence, and superior long-term stability – are the result of its single-crystal silicon material. The capacitive structure gives the sensor its wide dynamic range and provides a built-in mechanism for overpressure blocking.

Vaisala Barocap Technology description

Typical applications for barometric pressure

Measurement Barometric pressure measurement has a wide variety of applications within meteorology. Pressure data is required for estimating the amount of precipitable water vapor in the atmosphere. Typical applications include weather stations, data buoys, GPS meteorology, and environmental data logging. Barometric pressure measurement is also used in hydrology and agrology applications. Barometric pressure data is also required in several industrial applications. It is measured in pressure-sensitive industrial equipment, such as laser interferometers and lithography systems, aviation applications, and in exhaust-gas analysis. Metrological applications include laboratory pressure standard measurements and environmental monitoring in calibration laboratories. Vaisala offers a range of professional-grade barometers for both indoor and outdoor use. BAROCAP barometers
operate over a wide temperature range and perform reliably even in highly demanding applications such as professional meteorology and aviation.


Vaisala Barocap sensor cross section


BAROCAP applications for measurements in pressurized systems

Vaisala DRYCAP® dew point instruments have a long history of providing reliable and stable measurements in compressed air systems and SF6 insulation gas monitoring in high-voltage equipment. In addition to the need for dew point measurement, these two applications also share the need for accurate and stable pressure measurement. Vaisala has integrated its DRYCAP and BAROCAP technologies into a range of products that offer a unique combination of pressure and dew point measurement for pressurized systems. In compressed air, combining dew point measurement with live process pressure data provides a unique advantage: The conversion of measured pressure dew point to atmospheric pressure or ppm unit is available online, eliminating the possibility of any ambiguity in the dew point data. This is important because changes in the pressure of the gas being monitored alter its dew point. Combined dew point and pressure measurement in SF6 gas monitoring of high-voltage equipment provides a superior tool for assessing the condition of SF6 insulation. Leakages can be immediately detected and early warning is given for moisture issues. Measuring dew point, pressure, and temperature enables the calculation of SF6 gas density, normalized pressure, dew point at atmospheric pressure, and ppm – all essential elements in SF6 monitoring.