Flow sensing in hostile environment is of increasing interest for applications in automotive, aerospace, and chemical and resource industries. Compared to their counterparts, thermal flow sensors are attractive candidates due to the ease of fabrication, lack of moving parts and higher sensitivity. Recently, a number of thermal flow sensor prototypes have been reported in the literature demonstrating the measurement of fluid flows under hostile conditions. This paper summarizes the concept of thermal flow sensing, operational modes and transduction mechanisms. Then, the choice of materials and their corresponding properties are presented in details. The paper also reports recent progress in the development of thermal flow sensors for harsh environment. In addition, the issues and considerations in packaging are reviewed. Finally, we conclude the review with the future prospects.
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