2003 ISA Process Control • VF Meter for Chemical and Petrochemcial Applications

Sonar-Based Volumetric Flow Meter for Chemical and Petrochemcial Applications

Date of Conference: 
June 1, 2003
Daniel Gysling, Doug Loose

A sonar-based flow measurement technology, capable of clamp-on flow measurement of single and multiphase flow applications within the chemical and petrochemical industries, is described. Developed and field proven in oil and gas production industry over the last five years, sonar-based flow measurement technology provides robust accurate volumetric flow rate measurement for a broad range of process fluids, slurries, pipes sizes and flow conditions.

The sonar-based flow metering technology utilizes an array of sensors to listen to, and interpret, unsteady pressure fields within standard process flow lines. The methodology can be implemented using pressure transducers, directly ported in to the process fluid, or using strain-based sensors clamped-on to existing process piping. Flow rate is determined using sonar array processing techniques which track the speed at which turbulent eddies, inherent to turbulent pipe flow, convect past the sensor array. This convection speed is directly related to volumetric flow rate through a Reynolds number calibration.

Results from a calibration facility for both ported-pressure and strain-based, clamp-on configurations of the sonar flow meters are presented. Calibration testing of the sonar-based flow metering technology demonstrated 0.5% accuracy in volumetric flow using a single Reynolds number based calibrations applicable to a family of geometrically similar sonar meters ranging in diameters from 3 to 16 inches. Data is also presented from a field trial in which the sonar-based flow measurement is demonstrated on water-conveyed, solid polymer slurry. This data demonstrates the applicability of sonar-based flow measurements to multiphase slurries, a class of flows that represent a long-standing flow measurement challenge within the chemical and petrochemical processing industries.

Reference number: 
Asset type: 
Technical Paper