Modelling ultrasound flowmeterEnvironment and energy
Multiphysics phenomena occur in the modelling of an ultrasound flowmeter. It requires simulation of acoustics, mechanics, CFD and piezoelectricity. One can couple different numerical simulation methods to achieve such model. Recent techniques have improved and pave the way to efficient virtual testing of ultrasound flowmeters.
Objectives from modelling ultrasound flowmeter
Industry takes advantage of flowmeters in many applications. In these applications, flow needs to be measured with great accuracy in order to better control environmental resources. Water is a simple example.
One can get this measure using piezoelectricity and ultrasound principles. The “time of flight” of an acoustics signal in flow will be different whether it goes downstream or upstream. Hence, one can send the ultrasound signal between two piezoceramics which will act as source or receiver, alternatively. Some calculation from literature then leads to flow measurement from these time of flights.
Creating a model of the ultrasound flowmeter will help the manufacturer to understand the influence of piezoceramics grade, position and dimensions. So, one may also use modelling techniques for piezoelectricity with the objective to improve the ultrasound signal treatment, and then the flow measurement.
Results from simulation and information extracted
The model help to identify the different waves involved in such problems and received by the sensors. Visualisation of elastic wave and pressure wave makes the phenomena easier to understand.
As for any numerical simulation, one can quickly vary the different parameters of the piezoceramics actuator and sensor. Seeing how they change the measurement data often brings value to the model, compared to experimental test rig which could require more preparation and calibration.
Modelling ultrasound flowmeter on a cylindrical pipe
Figure shows an infinite cylindrical pipe, with a 90° sector cut to visualise inside.
Fluid flows following the blue arrow. Piezoelectric actuator (yellow colour) creates ultrasound that travels downstream. When wave travels upstream it behaves as piezoelectric sensor.
Pressure wave simulated inside the pipe
This figure shows the acoustics pressure wave travelling with the flow inside the pipe.
Elastic wave simulated on pipe walls
Figure shows the elastic wave deformations on the pipe walls (scaled to visualise it).
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