Scientists of SUSU and Oxford University Patented Their Joint Inventions

Working with natural resources requires particular accuracy. Scientists of South Ural State University are working on improvement of Coriolis flowmeter, the device that became widely used in petroleum industry.

Coriolis flowmeter is a device that determines mass flow rate of liquids. The project is intended for its application in order to determine mass flow rate of petrolium, and it is very important here not to make a mistake and know the maximally accurate amount of this expensive product when selling (or buying) it. The goal of the scientists is to ensure compliance of the device’s characteristics with the given ones under conditions of two-phase medium flow.

The research project is being implemented under supervision of SUSU Rector, Professor Aleksandr Shestakov, in cooperation with the Laboratory for Self-Monitoring and Self-Validating Sensors and Systems headed by Professor of Oxford University, Manus Patrick Henry. Research is carried out under support of the Ministry of Education and Science, of Project 5-100 and of SUSU’s industrial partner, ElMetro Company which nowadays is one of the leading ones on the Russian market in the sphere of designing industrial measuring devices. Pavel Taranenko, Head of the SUSU Laboratory of Experimental Mechanics, Candidate of Engineering Sciences, told us about results of the conducted research.

The problem is in the presence of air

Photo: Distribution of air bubbles in flowing mixture of gas and liquid

The goal of scientists is to maintain high accuracy of the device in case a mixture of liquid with air bubbles is flowing through it. The problem is in decreasing quality of Coriolis flowmeter’s work at the presence of foreign substance’s particles as they have other density and the rate of flow.

“Our university proposed to use a new algorithm for processing primary signals, in the basis of which is the method of matrix pencils. Preliminary experiments showed that the new algorithm at least is not worse than those used at the present time, including the most recent ones, for example, the ones proposed by Manus Henry. Nowadays we have the possibility to compare our inventions with the world-level inventions made at Oxford University.”

Photo: Experimental electronic units of the flowmeter; Multi-channel system for registration of signals received from the flowmeter

“Presently, a lot of discoveries were made in this sphere, a series of solutions have been patented. We are working on creation of a domestic device which would provide high accuracy of flow rate measurement under conditions of two-phase medium flow. In our project, two-phase liquid is a liquid containing gas bubbles,” explains Pavel Aleksandrovich. “Our device must accurately determine mass flow rate of petroleum in case it contains gas component. When this component is absent, its accuracy amounts 0,1%, otherwise its accuracy decreases and it starts transmitting wrong data.”

2 patents have been obtained

Lately in this area, the university patented 2 Certificates of Computer Program Registration and sent one application for obtaining a patent for invention. This is a joint project including three groups of scientists working on it. The Laboratory of Experimental Mechanics is specialized on conducting tests and creating mathematical models of mechanical dynamic structures; the Laboratory for Self-Monitoring and Self-Validating Sensors and Systems headed by Manus Henry is working on algorithms of measurement, processing and control of the flow meter; the third group of scientists performs calculations of parameters and simulation of the flow of liquid through this device.

The first two patents are connected with the method of processing signals received from the Coriolis flowmeter using the method of matrix pencils. The third patent will be connected with processing of primary signals under conditions of impulse impact on the flowmeter.

Possibilities for application of the improved flowmeter

“We are planning to finish the project in 2018. At the moment, we are working on creation of the flowmeter’s mathematical model taking into account the two-phase medium. Concurrently, the work is going with the control system. SUSU created a stand on which we can conduct tests. By combining the algorithms of processing, control algorithms and the flowmeter’s mathematical model into one whole, we can obtain a computer model, operating results of which must be compared to results of testing. Accordingly, using this model, we are mastering control algorithms, checking measurement algorithms, and then implement our ideas in the flowmeter’s electronic unit.”

Coriolis flowmeter can be used when measuring flow rate of various liquids. First of all, it is used in gas and oil industry. Another sphere of application is measuring the flow rate of liquid gas at subzero temperatures. Moreover, it can be widely used in chemical industry.

Viktoria Matveychuk; photo by: Viktoria Matveychuk
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