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THE INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY OF ULTRASONIC FLOW MEASUREMENT OF LIQUIDS DENSITY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DENSITOMETER PROTOTYPE

07 June 2015
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Authors: Alontseva D.L., Krasavin A.L, Malyukova A.A., Tynybayev D.N.

 

Introduction

The main types of density are: float, mass, hydrostatic, radioisotope, vibration, and ultrasound. To date, the most widely used are vibrating densitometers. The principle of their operation is based on the dependence of the resonance frequency of oscillating system placed in the measured medium on the density of the medium [1, 2, 3]. Industries mainly use flow meters that are integrated into liquid meters (such meters consist of a flow rate meter, densitometer and a computing machine which calculates the mass of the fluid passing through the measurement channel) or are used in automatic process control systems. And the main shortcoming of all kinds of vibrating flow densitometers in these critical practical applications is the restrictions on the maximum allowable flow rate in the measuring section.

As a rule, in practice this type densitometers are joined to pipes of a sufficiently large diameter by means of a bypass, and such a joint produces a “side effect” consisting in that the velocity of fluid flow through the densitometer measuring chamber is different from the fluid velocity in the pipeline. It is obvious that the densitometer mounted on a bypass responds to changes in the density of the fluid flowing through the pipeline with delay, as at the current time such meter is measuring the density of the liquid portion passing through the pipe up to this moment. It is clear that such a “lag” leads to errors in the measurement channel, which become significant when sudden changes in the density of the fluid in the pipes happens. Besides that, different varieties of vibrating densitometers have a number of general and specific to a given family drawbacks: the need for pre-treatment of the medium to prevent sediment on the sensor device, low quality of the oscillatory system [4], decrease in the accuracy of measurements with temperature fluctuations, errors in the measurement due to irreciprocal washing against the sensory element [5].

For measuring the density of viscous media Coriolis mass densitometers are also used. They are characterized by a solid construction whose principle of operation is based on the occurrence of the Coriolis force when the medium passes through an U-shaped tube. However, due to the high cost and the need for additional capacity for pumping through pipe bends, this method is not widely spread. [6]

One of perspective directions in the measurement of density of liquids is the use of ultrasonic methods. These methods do not require installation into a pipeline of mechanical structures (such as tuning forks used in some types of vibration densitometers) or the use of specialized measuring sections embedded in the pipeline (like Coriolis densitometers). Installing densitometers of this type on the pipeline has virtually no effect on the hydrodynamics of the flow and does not require additional power for pumping fluid through the measuring section. Densitometers of this type can operate in aggressive environments, and in general are characterized by high reliability and durability in comparison with “mechanical” densitometers.

The goal of this research is development of an innovative technology of ultrasonic flow measurement of liquids density and the development of a densitometer prototype.

 

The Description of Innovative Technology of Ultrasonic Flow Measurement of Liquids Density

The main idea of the research foresees the practical implementation of the technology of liquid density measurement based on the dependence of the sound resistance (impedance) of a medium on its density.

The proposed method for measuring the metering section presents a section of the pipeline equipped with a two-layer reflector and the ultrasonic transducer that operates both as a transmitter and a receiver of ultrasonic vibrations propagating in the liquid (Fig.1). The estimation of the density of a liquid occurs during the analysis of the received signal, which is a superposition of reflections from the two surfaces: liquid - reflector coating material, and the coating material – the material of the reflector background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 - The illustrations of an operating principle and the layout of the densitometer

 

We previously conducted research related to the alleged study. We took part in preparation of the application for participation in the contest “Energy of the Future” held by the regional government of East Kazakhstan. The project “Innovative ultrasonic flow measuring of the density of inhomogeneous fluids with the construction of the experimental densitometer prototype model” was one of the winner projects. For its demonstration a prototype model (Fig. 2) and information booklets were presented at the Mini EXPO-2014 exhibition (26-27 May 2014, Ust-Kamenogorsk). At the exhibition the Secretariat of EXPO-2017, representatives of international funds and some Nobel Prize winners were present.

 

 

 

Figure 2 - The demonstration model of an ultrasonic densitometer presented at the Mini EXPO-2014 exhibition

 

The research group has a solid scientific basis in the field of computer mathematical modeling and the development of algorithms of digital signal decomposition which form the foundation for the theoretical development of the considered project. It is reflected in the publications relating to the theme of the project [7-13] by D.L. Alontseva and the research group.

We choose the following basic research methods: mathematical computer modeling; conducting a controlled experiment to identify the impact of various factors on the accuracy of measurement and to select ultrasonic transducers, signal formats, and methods of excitation of piezoelectric ceramics.

Combined application of the most modern analytical methods of investigation of waveforms for exciting piezoelectric ceramics based on mathematical modeling will provide increased accuracy, reliability and predictability of the results of the study.

For achieving the declared goal, we must achieve the following research objectives:

- carrying out literature and patent search for scientifically justified selection of reflector design, ultrasonic transducers, methods of signal generation and piezoceramics excitation techniques. As a result a data base for further research will be compiled;

- building up a bench testing unit;

- using the bench tester trying out constructional and engineering solutions (reflector design, the type of piezoceramic reflector, etc.) the measurement section will be based on, as well as the densitometer electronics;

- based on the bench testing developing a simulation model of an input signal that takes into account the timing instability of acoustic tract performance;

- developing the algorithm of processing a received signal, which is based on the above described mathematical model. The certificate of authorship of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the signal processing algorithm used in the densitometer will be applied for;

- producing a lay-out of a densiometer experimental model and a densiometer electronic module card.  It will result in making drawings for fabrication of an experimental model with the indication of geometrical dimensions and materials, and construction documentation for the fabrication of cards;

- producing an exponent densitometer experimental model;

- trying out the technology experimentally using the production prototype. Carrying out the analysis and processing of the received data. This will lead to getting the data for assessment of measurement accuracy and its dependence on operation conditions. A densitometer experiment-production prototype will be produced, and an innovative high performance technology of ultrasonic flow liquid density measurement will be developed.

The main disadvantages of mass-produced ultrasonic densitometer models are low accuracy in comparison with a vibrating densitometer, and a sharp increase of uncertainty in measurement in the presence of heterogeneity of the properties of the liquid within the acoustic path. To date, the most widely used are the ultrasonic flowmeters whose operation principle is based on measuring the phase difference of the sound waves incident on and reflected from the surface of the division of the two media [14]. These techniques use indirect methods to determine this phase difference (for example, the selection of the frequency of radiation leading to the formation of standing waves in the acoustic path) leading to additional measurement errors. Another common method of measurement based on the dependence of the velocity of sound in the medium on its density has crucial limitations in terms of accuracy because of the ambiguity of this relationship. Some authors proposed methods based on the dependence of the sound resistance (impedance) of the medium on its density, but they have not yet left laboratories yet. The proposed method belongs to the latter group and will allow achieving high accuracy while retaining all the attractive qualities of modern ultrasonic densitometers.

The proposed method for measuring liquid density is significantly different from the methods of measurement used in ultrasonic densitometers mass-produced by a number of foreign manufacturers. It should be noted that the implementation of this technique is based on the use of unique algorithms of digital signal processing (DSP), which represent an intrinsic value beyond the scope of this application. Thus, the level of innovation of the project can be estimated as global. It is also notable that despite the fact that a number of experimental developments related to the use of ultrasound in the measurement of liquid and suspension density in the Russian Federation gave encouraging results at large, to date in the Russian Federation (and the CIS as a whole) there are no manufacturers of ultrasonic densitometers.

As can be seen from the above, the idea of the ​​technology of flow ultrasonic measuring the density of liquids has scientific importance and novelty at the global level, which will make a significant contribution to the development of individual research directions and will raise the status of Kazakhstan science on the whole.

To date in Kazakhstan and the CIS there are no manufacturers of similar ultrasonic densitometers, which would provide services for the development of all phases of the technology using ingenious software and the formation of the finished product with the desired properties.

The developed technology will wholistically solve problems of resource and energy conservation, which is a highly relevant proposal for the economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Every company tries to minimize costs in order to maximize profits. Minimizing costs also includes reducing the use of its resources, which can be achieved through the modernization of production technology, the introduction of new production technology or increasing the accuracy in measurement of resource consumption, i.e. increasing the accuracy of measurement. As a rule, the last option is the most appropriate for companies, as it is the most economically feasible. Therefore, the demand for the densitometer in market economy conditions and the mining industry will be increasing every day.

The demand for the technology being developed across the Republic of Kazakhstan is determined by a wide range of its applications. Despite the developed instrument is focussed on the oil and petrochemical industries, where Kazakhstan is represented by KazMunaiGas JSC Atyrau Refinery JSC, Pavlodar Petrochemical Plant JSC, Shymkentnefteorgsintez (SHNOS), Aday Petroleum, Tolkynneftegas Aktau TRANSIT, ANAKO, AI-DAN MUNAY and others, it can be applied in almost all industries. There is also the prospect of export of the developed ultrasonic densitometer. Potential consumers of such technologies can be oil-producing and refining countries: Saudi Arabia, Russia, United States, Iran, China, Canada and many others.

The implementation of the project will make a significant contribution to the development of instrumentation, as well as contribute to the development of the methodology for measuring process parameters in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Using innovative ultrasonic measuring of the density of liquids can improve the accuracy of measurement that will reduce consumption of resources, and thereby reduce the economic losses, reduce the energy load, as their application does not require the cost of power for transporting the measured liquid due to the lack of need for a measuring chamber. Because of a wide range of applications of this technology it is not possible to make a detailed calculation of its economic efficiency at this stage. It will be a task in the preparation of the final business plan for specific production. The developed technology is knowledge-based, the project will ensure the creation of high-tech industries and increasing productivity, it will establish new jobs, including at D.Serikbaev EKSTU. The project will actively involve young people, increase the capacity of Kazakhstan science that provides the solution of the three main tasks set by the President in his Message the people of Kazakhstan of January 17, 2014. [15]

Use of domestic and foreign research infrastructures (laboratories), with explanations: all major research of the research will be carried out on the basis of the D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan state technical university; it is also possible to carry out part of the study on the basis of Satpayev KazNTU electronics laboratory (Kazakhstan), the laboratories of Óbuda University, Szekesfehervar (Hungary), Lublin Technical University laboratories, Lublin (Poland) and Polzunov AltSTU, Barnaul (the Russian Federation).

Key domestic and international communications, participation in the project of foreign scientists: in the process of research and development of the technology we plan to schedule consultations with prof. W. Wójcik, Lublin University of Technology (Poland); with prof. G. Gyorok, Óbuda University, Szekesfehervar (Hungary); and prof. M.D. Starostenkov, an Honored Worker of Science, Altai State Technical University, Barnaul (Russia).

Participation in the research of young scientists, PhD-doctoral students:  60% of participants of the Project are young scientists (under 35 years), including 2 Ph.D., 1 PhD-doctoral students, 3 graduate students.

Planned professional development trips:

 - at Lublin University of Technology (Lublin, Poland) for graduate and doctoral students (there is an agreement on cooperation between our universities, visa support and internships for graduate and doctoral students are provided); there will be held an experiment on mathematical modeling of the processes of signal decomposition by the Fourier method under the supervision of prof. W. Wójcik on the basis of the computer laboratory complex of the university. There will be held information retrieval on the theme of the research using free access to Thomson Reuters databases provided by the libraries of this university.

- at Obuda University (Szekesfehervar, Hungary) for graduate and doctoral students (there is an agreement on cooperation between our universities, visa support and internships for graduate and doctoral students are provided); there will be tried out a number of engineering solutions with the use of microcontrollers as a part of dissertation research supervised by Professor G. Gyorok. There will be also held information research on the theme of the project using free access to Thomson Reuters databases provided by the libraries of this university.

- at Altai State Technical University, Barnaul (Russia) for graduate and postgraduate students (there is an agreement on cooperation between our universities), there will be conducted an experiment on the mathematical modeling of processes of signal recognition supervised by M.D.Starostenkov, an Honored Worker of Science of the Russian Federation.

Thus, the planned internships are focused directly on the fulfillment of research objectives, while at the same time, providing professional development of young researchers, giving them theoretical and practical material for the execution of dissertations.

Planned trips for participation in international conferences held abroad by year:

- 2015: taking part in “New Electrical and Electronic Technologies and their Industrial Implementation (NEET-2015)” International Conference held by Lublin University of Technology in Zakopane, Poland, and “Electronics and Automatic Control Systems”, Great Britain;

- 2016: taking part in International Conferences: “International Conference on Circuits, Systems, Electronics, Control & Signal Processing” (СSECS-2016) in Budapest and “International Symposium on Applied Informatics and Related Areas (AIS)”, Szekesfehervar, Hungary;

- 2017: taking part in NEET-2017 “New Electrical and Electronic Technologies and their Industrial Implementation” International Conference, Zakopane, Poland and the VI European Conference on Innovations in Technical and Natural Sciences, Vienna, Austria.

Trips to Almaty and Astana are scheduled to hold experiments and take part in international conferences.

Participation in prestigious international conferences and exhibitions, publications in leading foreign and domestic journals provides wide dissemination of research results among potential users, a community of scholars and the general public.

The research will result in: the development of technology of flow ultrasonic measurement of liquid density; receiving a copyright certificate of the Republic of Kazakhstan for signal processing algorithm used in the densitometer. The subsequent conclusion of a license agreement for intellectual property is likely. The project is also patentable at the European level; producing densitometer prototypes with high technical performance, able to work in different conditions and environments.

The main result of the research will be  to create a flow ultrasonic densitometer prototype having a number of unique features: the ability to work on large diameter pipelines; ultralow response rate; at that the accuracy of measurement of the proposed instrument will not be inferior to the best examples of modern densitometers.

The scientific outcomes of the project will increase the potential and status of Kazakhstan science and can be widely used in such areas as: ultrasonic equipment; digital communications system; instrument engineering and technological process automation etc.

The main vector in the development of the project is the focus on the oil-producing and oil processing industry where the problem of resource and energy conservation is particularly acute.

The research results are supposed to be published in journals with a high impact factor. In most cases, these journals accept papers approved at prestigious international conferences. Therefore, personal participation of all project participants with a paper in the respective conferences, as well as foreign training for young researchers, graduate and doctoral Ph.D. students, is necessary both for the growth of their qualifications and successful work on the project, and for establishing international relations to provide academic and research mobility of the project participants. In general, internships and participation in conferences are very important for the further advancement of the project, development of potential foreign markets, and for the implementation of “Kazakhstan-2050” Strategy [16] and the state program of industrial-innovative development of Kazakhstan for 2015-2019 in the sphere of education and science. [17] They ensure acquisition of international experience in the preparation of highly qualified engineering personnel integrated into the global labor market; acquaintances, exchanging views and experiences with the developers of innovative technologies; presentation and search for potential partners to implement own achievements in the educational and research activities.

The project under consideration on the flow ultrasonic densitometer is in conformity with the main principles of “green economics”, as this technology is:  energy saving – the measurement section does not produce hydraulic resistance which is a reason for using additional power necessary for transporting the liquid; resource saving – it allows increasing the accuracy of measurement, thus lowering the consumption of reserves and minimize economic losses; environmentally friendly - the instrrument does not have a negative impact on the environment, it is produced with environmentally-friendly materials. The project implementation will allow making a significant contribution to the development of instrument engineering and contribute to the development of methodology for measuring process parameters in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Due to a wide range of applications of this technology it is not possible to make a detailed calculation of its economic efficiency at this stage. It will be a task in the preparation of the final business plan for specific production. Upon the completion of the project it is planned to apply to the National Agency for Engineering and Development for the commercialization of this development.

 

Conclusions

 Using an innovative technology of ultrasonic measuring the density of liquids can improve the accuracy of measurement, thus reducing consumption of resources, and consequently economic losses and reduce the energy load, as its application does not require the cost power for transporting the measured liquid due to the lack of need for a measuring chamber.  The technology is focused on the use in the oil industry, but despite this, the developed devices are applicable in many industries, the technology has a great export potential.

 

Acknowledgment

This research is funded for 2015-2017 by the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the project “The innovative technology of ultrasonic flow measurement of liquids density and the development of a densitometer prototype”.

Bibliography and references
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