Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of adaptable flow measurement devices that can be easily installed without compromising the structural integrity of existing conduits. With their simple installation procedures, the devices can be removed or exchanged without difficulty, allowing for temporary or extended use. The design is in-situ and self-contained, taking measurements from within the conduit, thereby offering more accuracy and allowing for opportunities to modify system operating parameters. Some of the designs can be used to mix the flow or inject a second fluid into the stream.
The technology works by inserting a measurement device through an opening that is created in the wall of a conduit. The device is attached to a mount that seals the hole, allowing for temporary or permanent flow measurement. Inserting a new device typically takes only a matter of minutes, providing an opportunity for quick response to a desired measurement. For non-hazardous systems, flow does not need to be stopped for the device to be inserted, which saves operating costs.
This NASA tool for in-situ measuring is far superior to external measurement methods because it increases the accuracy and applications for which the technology may be used. Device installation does not compromise the structural integrity or configuration of pipes, so existing conduit systems will especially benefit from the innovation. By inserting measurement devices inside a conduit, the user is able to obtain more accurate information and apply certain changes to the flow, e.g., mixing the flow or inserting a second liquid.
Potential applications include chemical, petrochemical, and food process facilities; power generation facilities; gas production and distribution facilities; water and waste-water facilities; aerospace fuel flow measurement; and pool and spa flow systems.