Investment in dynamic flow testing equipment by Ceramtec has delivered improved analysis of water flow measurements. This breakthrough means that users of water coupled ultrasonic sensors – including utilities companies, industrial process controllers and manufacturers of medical devices – can realise significant benefits.
The new rig, installed at Ceramtec’s Southampton, UK manufacturing facility, measures water flow from 0ºC to 80ºC in a number of environments. The result not only affects the in-house design of ultrasonic sensors, but gives Ceramtec additional data to guide customers on the best combination of sensor and flow tube.
A particular benefit of the investment is the enhanced ability to examine the difference between laminar and turbulent flow – a significant factor in achieving accurate water flow readings, as Ceramtec’s Business Development Manager, Charles Dowling, explained: “The design of flow tubes can actually affect the accuracy of measurement, as friction slows the velocity at the edges of the tube. In laminar flow – which is low flow and consistent – it is hard to measure the variations at the edges because the acoustic beam can’t reach them.
“That isn’t a problem at higher flow, because turbulence is created and flow isn’t localised to any particular point within the tube. That means a greater range of measurements can be taken and averaged out for an accurate overall reading. Therefore, a key aspect of the test rig is to better understand the velocity profile of low flow. We’re looking at designing transducers so the beam covers a bigger area, without being affected by false data – for example, by reflections of the wall of the flow tube. The investment gives us the ability to fine-tune transducers, so customers can achieve more and minimise errors in measurement.”
Ceramtec says that a range of companies will see real benefits, citing more accurate billing in utility meters, precise measurement in medical equipment and improved fuel flow monitoring in automotive, industrial or oil & gas applications.