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Electrical Field-Enhanced Capacitive Transducers for Humidity and Moisture Control Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2005-33610-16309
Agency Tracking Number: 2003-00134
Amount: $296,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2005
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
108 Colonel's Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Robert McIntosh
 (252) 636-1010
Business Contact
 Robert McIntosh
Phone: (252) 636-1010
Research Institution

Humidity and moisture are difficult parameters to measure and control in greenhouses and in bulk stored grain. Greenhouse control systems with distributed sensors can manage dynamic environments to enhance crop yield, prevent disease, and conserve energy. Psychrometers are too complex for multi-zone climate control. At high levels of humidity, hygrometers have problems with accuracy, stability, and rapid response. Control systems with chemically resistant humidity sensors and condensation alarms can maintain optimum multi-zone climates for specific crops. Since the sensors measure moisture external to a low-moisture absorbing coverlayer, they can be used to control the moisture content of agricultural commodities and imported foodstuffs. Applications also exist in the grain drying, tempering, milling, and baking industries. Transducers were developed during Phase-I to measure humidity, moisture, and to anticipate condensation. Testing confirmed a unique capability to measure humidity in condensing environments and the moisture content of bulk stored grain. The sensors are resistant to harsh chemicals and insensitive to surface contamination. They will be optimized to reduce manufacturing costs using batch fabrication and calibration methods. Devices fabricated on small silicon chips will have an implanted temperature sensor.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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