Torsional Sensor Applications in Two-Phase Fluids
A solid corrosion-resistant torsional waveguide of diamond cross section has been developed to sense on-line and in real-time the characteristics of the liquid in which it is submerged. The sensor can measure, among other things, the liquid content of a bubbly medium; the density of adjacent pure liquids; the equivalent density of liquid-vapor mixtures or particulate suspensions; a suspension's concentration; and the liquid level. The sensor exploits the phenomenon that the speed of propagation of a torsional stress wave in a submerged waveguide with a noncircular cross section is inversely proportional to the equivalent density of the liquid in which the waveguide is submerged. The sensor may be used to conduct measurements along distances ranging from 20 mm to 20 m and over a wide range of temperatures and pressures, e.g., from the cryogenic temperature of liquid nitrogen, -196°C, up to hot pressurized water at 300°C and 7 MPa. A self-calibrating three-zone sensor and associated electronics have also been developed to compensate for any sensor inaccuracies due to operation over a wide range of temperature. In some of the water experiments at room temperature, unexpected attenuation of the guided torsional waves was observed. This excess attenuation depends in part on the waveguide's surface finish. It appears to be caused by air microbubbles adhering to the waveguide, imposing one of the practical limits on the maximum sensor length in nondegassed or aerated water.