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University Researchers Develop Prize Winning Flowmeter

PPPL scientist Egemen Kolemen, graduate student Daniel Dudt, Princeton University associate professional specialist Michael Hvasta, and graduate student Adam Fisher. Photo courtesy of PPPL.

A team of researchers from Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey, USA) and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) (Plainsboro, New Jersey, USA) collaborated to create a modified prize-winning rotating Lorentz-force flowmeter (RLFF). The PPPL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (Washington, D.C., USA) national laboratory for plasma physics and nuclear fusion science.

Typically, RLFFs measure the flow rate of electrically conductive fluids as they pass a magnetic field, a process which induces a current. That current then interacts with the magnetic field, causing the disk within the flowmeter to rotate; the velocity at which the disk rotates corresponds to a measurable speed for the flowing fluid.

What makes the prize-winning flowmeter different is that it does not come into contact with fluids—as a result, it is able to measure a variety of fluids and not just conductive ones. Additionally, it relies on a low-friction bearing that does not require calibration prior to installation. This feature enables flowmeter measurements that closely match ideal theoretical performance, according to Michael Hvasta, an associate professional specialist at Princeton University.

As opposed to conventional flowmeters, the modified RLFF can be installed outside the pipe for quicker data measurements. Another benefit of this external flowmeter is that it helps preserve the integrity of pipeline systems, particularly in environments that place a premium on leak-free sterility.

In addition to winning first place in Princeton University’s 13th Annual Innovation Forum, the device was featured in Measurement Science and Technology. Additional information about the project can be found by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.

Source: PPPL, www.pppl.gov.