The mass air flow sensor or MAF- sensor is a device designed to estimate the amount of air entering the internal combustion engine. It is one of the sensors of electronic control systems of a car engine with fuel injection. It’s main function serves for determining and balancing the amount of air entering the engine cylinders. The mass air flow sensor can be used in conjunction with air temperature and atmospheric pressure sensors, which correct its readings.
As a rule, resistance thermal anemometers are used as mass air flow sensors in which a sensitive element heated by electric current and performing the functions of thermal resistance is placed into the air flow. The sensor consists of two platinum filaments heated by electric current. Through one thread, cooling it, passes the air, the second is the control. By changing the current passing through the air-cooled platinum filament, the amount of air entering the engine is calculated. The mass air flow sensor is always located in the air inlet, between the air filter and the hose going to the throttle valve.
Based on the information received from the sensor, an electronic control unit (ECU) determines the duration of the opening pulse of the injectors and, accordingly, to calculate the required amount of fuel in order to maintain the stoichiometric ratio of fuel and air for given engine operating conditions. Also, information from the Air Flow Meter is used by the ECU to calculate the engine’s point. The ECU, taking into account the values of mass air flow (for calculations it is translated into the parameter Cycle air flow, or Engine load, in most modern ECUs), engine temperature and engine speed, can calculate the engine load and based on this information not only the amount of fuel supplied to the engine, but also the ignition timing, thus controlling the torque of the power unit.
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