A novel device for measuring the flow of liquids through pipes could benefit manufacturers in a wide range of businesses, including the pharmaceutical, food processing, metallurgical and wastewater treatment industries.
“One of the strengths of this technology is that you don’t need to know anything about a fluid’s properties to determine its speed,” said Michael Hvasta, a liquid metal specialist in Princeton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He developed the technology using research facilities at PPPL with Egemen Kolemen, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and graduate students Daniel Dudt and Adam Fisher.
The new flowmeter, which won first place at the Princeton Keller Center’s 2018 Innovation Forum, is less expensive and more sensitive than comparable instruments currently on the market, and it is designed to be added to the outside of a pipe, so it is easy to install without draining the system. It has no moving parts that touch the liquid, so it is ideal for use with corrosive or high-temperature fluids.
Typically, similar devices, known as “rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters,” are used with very electrically conductive liquids, such as molten metals. However, with the invention and incorporation of a new, low-friction bearing, this type of flowmeter can now be used for liquids with a range of conductivities without requiring calibration.
“One of the strengths of this technology is that you don’t need to know anything about a fluid’s properties to determine its speed.” -Michael Hvasta, Liquid Metal Specialist in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Development status: Patent protection is pending. Princeton is seeking outside interest for further development of this technology.
Funding: U.S. Department of Energy
Contact: Laurie Bagley, head of Technology Transfer at PPPL, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-243-2425