Friday, January 12, 2018

‘Global-first’ 2D X-ray system opens new horizons for research and commercial work in pipe flow

A substantial investment is being made in a unique piece of 2D flow visualisation technology that will significantly enhance NEL’s research and commercial capabilities.

“This is a global first,” says International Marketing & Technical Consultant, Dr Bruno Pinguet. “The device will allow us to look in unprecedented detail at the performance of meters and will open up exciting opportunities for all aspects of our work. We are customising this unique product to meet our needs and expect to be able to make it commercially available to clients by June 2018.”

The new system uses X-Ray tomography and is being provided by Flow Capture AS. This is a Norwegian-based company that has a particular expertise in X-ray systems and their application to industrial process flows.

NEL’s system is designed primarily for measuring multiphase flows in horizontal and vertical pipes and will be capable of determining the phase fractions within a multiphase pipe flow in real-time. It also offers extremely high-frequency data capture of over 150 frames per second.

“The main advantage of this system is its exemplary resolution,” says John Morgan, Project & Business Support Manager. “This is an exciting prospect considering the upcoming research agenda we are developing for our new Multiphase Centre of Excellence.”

“The potential uses and benefits of the system are clear,” John adds. “They include advancing complex multiphase fluid mechanics knowledge, reducing NEL’s flow loop uncertainties and improving the quality of factory acceptance testing for multiphase flow meters.”

The 2D X-ray tomography technology deployed in the device eliminates many of the limitations found in established approaches based on the electrical tomography operating principle (including limitations in image resolution and high-sensitivity to errors incurred by process fluid properties). It remains unaffected in conditions where electrical technologies would fail.

“The artefacts seen with Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) or Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT) are removed with this new approach,” says Bruno. “It will allow us to see flow as though we are seeing through the pipe.”

 For more details, contact Bruno Pinguet.


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NEL is a world class provider of technical consulting, research, measurement, testing and programme management services to clients across many industries including oil & gas, renewable and sustainable energy, process and government.

NEL also holds the UK National Standards for flow measurement and has an international reputation in key engineering areas such as flow measurement, computational fluid dynamics, environmental and thermal engineering.

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