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Measurement for control

V3_01 C P Bodenstein 2009/10/19

V3_01: Formulas for for flowrate corrected.

1. Introduction Modern civilizations cannot function without instrumentation since research and development and the consquential industrial activity of any significance is impossible without measurement and control of process variables. Instrumentation and measurement are widely used in the chemical process industry, transport, communications, power generation and supply, medicine, and many other activities in industry and commerce. Without measurement meaningful research cannot be done and no useful industrial applications can be implemented. Perhaps it can be said that instrumention makes research possible and that research in turn makes more and novel instrumentation possible. Industrial instrumentation covers a very wide field. This course will be limited to some of the most widely used instrumentation which is necessary to operate control systems effectively and safely. Widely used measurements are: Temperature in diverse industrial applications such as boiler plant, steam and gas turbines, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, furnace control, oil refineries, diverse chemical process plant. Pressure in boilers, turbines, pumping, transport of fuids in pipelines, compressors and chemical plant. Flowrate in steam plant, water treatment and pumping, chemical processes and transport of fluids in pipelines. Level of liquids and solids in diverse plant in electrical power generation and chemical process plant. Force. In metal processing, mass measurement, lifting and hoisting of material. Displacement in metal processing as thickness and manufacturing. Rotational velocity in turbines and compressors, mills for metal processing and in paper and pulp processing amongst others. These constitute the greater part of popular industrial measurements. Other important industrial measurements are: pH in chemical plant and water treatment. Dissolved solids in boiler feedwater and water treatment. Components in gases by means of gas chromatography. Oxygen in boiler and furnace flue gas for combustion control. Mass spectrometry in the analysis of products such as steel processing. Many more examples are encountered in the daily life of any control engineer in a plant.

Measurement and control is an important and diverse field of engineering. By itself, it forms a big industry worldwide with a large turnover and which provides employment to many technical and non-technical staff. The instrumentation and control of a modern plant costs about 15% - 20% of the total capital outlay. Employment is offered in research and development, project engineering, sales, construction and in maintenance. Employers range from big international corporations to small local companies. The latter are frequently started by entrepreneurial engineers or technicians. A number of journals promote measurement and control and a number of institutes for measurement and control actively promote this field of engineering. Due to the wide variety of instruments that are available for industrial use, handbooks tend do be very bulky and expensive. Some classes of instrumentation warrant specialist handbooks. This set of notes is an introduction to this fascinating field of engineering by concentrating on a few of the most widely used instruments.

2. Functional description of instrumentation

2.1. Objectives. To compile functional descriptions of instrument systems for which the underlying physical effects are known. To incorporate interference and disturbance into the functional description. To compile functional descriptions in terms of the conversions between energy forms which form the basis of all instrumentation. 2.2. Introduction. Transducers convert physical variables into more useful physical variables. In this set of notes sensors and transducers are synonyms. To convert a process variable such as temperature to a useful signal, one or more suitable physical effects are used to design an instrument. In general, sensors employ inference to measure a variable. This generally means that the physical variable in the environment has some useful repeatable effect on the sensor. This change in the sensor can then be used to infer the value of the physical variable that we want to measure. This will be explained here by means of an example. Temperature has a formal definition as will be discussed later, but is hardly useful for practical temperature measurement. Nearly all modern control systems use electronic signals for control, therefore physical effects which can deliver an electronic output are most useful. Temperature can be measured, amongst others, by using the effect whereby electrical resistance of a conductor is dependent on temperature. This is the primary transducer in resistance temperature measurement. By passing an electrical current through the resistor, which is placed where the temperature is to be measured, the voltage drop over the resistor changes as the temperature changes which forms the secondary transducer. A temperature change has been converted to a resistance change and then to a voltage change. That voltage change can be converted into a standard signal for transmission to display and control. This is called manipulation of the variables because the same signal type, namely voltage (or current), is processed. Note that the current source is also likely to be influenced by ambient temperature as are the conductors coupled to the measuring resistance. In these cases ambient temperature is an interference input because it is not the process temperature which we want to measure. In addition, the measurement current also heats up the sensor, changing its temperature and resistance. More examples will be covered in the notes.

A generic layout of an instrument is shown in the figure:

Figure 1. Generic functional layout of instrument. In all cases a primary transducer, based on an applicable physical effect, is required. If the output from this transducer is not in a desired or useful form, it in turn has to be applied to secondary transducer. Transducers may be chained in series until the desired output signal can be obtained. This comes at a price of more areas where intefering variables can act. It also increases the monetary price.

2.3. Interference. The transducers are generally also sensitive to other variables in the environment. These other variables give rise to outputs which we may wrongly attribute to the variable which we actually want to measure. These are called interfering variables or inputs and require effort in the design of instruments to minimize their effect. Note that truly linear input-output relations are very seldom achieved.

Figure 2. Effects of interfering signals.

The output from the transducers are generally not in a form suitable for transmission, display, storage or archiving and control and has to be manipulated to suitable standard signal values. This manipulation is mostly electronic signal processing, but pneumatic or hydraulic manipulation of some signals are also possible. Note that inteference, by adding (or subtracting) to the desired signal, is mostly observed as deviations around the desired signal. When it is due to say nearby electrical power apparatus, it is seen as power frequency interference. Since the power frequency is relatively constant, it can mostly be filtered out. Sometimes interference is of a random nature and is then observed as noise. 2.4. Energy conversion. The functional blocks in instrumentation can be described in terms of the conversion of signals between different energy forms. In a few instances it is a source effect, such as the short circuit electrical current that is delivered by a photocell which is proportional to the photon flux. In most cases it is a modulation effect, such as electrical resistance which changes as temperature changes. The energy forms between which conversion can take place are Chemical, Optical, Mechanical, Electrical, Thermal, Magnetic, Acoustic and Nuclear, which is easily remembered by using the acronym COMETMAN [2]. Any intended conversion is confined to physical effects which are known at present. On a more familiar note, consider the human senses [2]. Thus, the human senses of smelling, in the olfaceptors, and tasting, in the gustaceptors, reside within the chemical energy domain, while human sight uses the videceptors to sense objects or events by receiving optical energy. The tacticeptors are used in the touching and feeling senses in the mechanical energy domain. Electrical energy can be sensed by the nociceptors or pain sensors due to the physiological experience of electric shock. A similar effect may occur if human tissue is exposed to nuclear radiation. Thermal energy is associated with the tacticeptors, the videceptors and the nociceptors. Auraceptors, which are associated with human hearing, clearly lie within the acoustic energy domain. Acoustic energy may also be detected by the nociceptors when the sound pressure intensity exceeds the aural pain threshold. The five human senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling amount to some 122 million sensing receptors. From the information processing point of view humans can process information at a rate of around 100 bits/s with an unconscious information transfer rate of around 1 Gbits/s from some 4 million nerve strings linked through the human nervous system to the cortex or brain stem. Note that the senses listed in [2] are those of which we are conscious. There are many more of which we are not conscious, such as the blood Calcium sensors in the thyroid area. We are also not conscious of the sensors used for regulating the body temperature.

Figure 3. Four sensor system effects. In figure 3 all the possible inputs, interfering inputs or disturbances and possible outputs are shown. Note that the possibilities are limited to a finite number of physical effects.

2.5. Problems. 2.5.1. Find five physical effects which can be used in instrumentation. Give the defining equations as well as possible interfering inputs. (An example: Linear expansion of a steel rod LT = LT 0 (1 + (T T0 )) where the expansion can be used to measure temperature. Interfering input barometric pressure changes which change the dimensions of the steel rod this has to be quantified to determine if it really qualifies as a disturbance or interfering input.) 2.5.2. Describe five instruments in terms of primary, secondary, (etc.) conversion between energy forms from environmental signal to measured to display. 2.5.3. List the instruments to be used in monitoring and control of turbo-compressor driven by an electric motor. 2.5.4. List the instruments to be used in monitoring and control of a HVAC plant in a shopping mall.


3. Characteristics of transducers 3.1 Objectives After studying this chapter the reader should be able to define and interpret the characteristics on the specification sheets of commercially available instruments. 3.2 Introduction Transducers convert physical variables into more useful physical variables with the modern aim of producing an electrical output which can be readily used in control systems, stored and displayed. The devices used in this conversion are in general sensitive to other physical variables as well. This could cause errors if not compensated for. Calibration of instruments is the most important factor if the readings are to be of value. Calibration is done with a standardized procedure to compare instrument response with a suitable standard reference. 3.3. Characteristics. Accuracy Accuracy is a measure of the transducer output representing the true value being measured. It can be defined as follows: Ea = (Vt Vm)/Vt x 100% or more generally as Efs = (Vt Vm)/Vfs x 100% Where Ea is the percentage error, Vt is the true value being measured, Vm is the transducer output, Efs is the full scale percentage error and Vfs is the full scale output. Note that some reference standard or calibration source is required.


Precision or random error This is a measure of the deviation from a mean value of a set of readings obtained from an input of given value. Thus the repeatability of a reading is defined by the precision as specified for the transducer. Bias or systematic error The difference between the mean value of the transducer output and the true value. Thus accuracy is the sum of random error and systematic error. Resolution This denotes the smallest increment of the input signal that can be measured by the transducer. Drift The change in transducer output over time given a zero input. More specific the change in sensitivity over a period of time for a change in temperature, humidity or some other environmental factor. Linearity The deviation of a given calibration curve from a straight line within the full scale output of the transducer. Conformance For a non-linear transducer it is the tightness of fit to a specified curve, usually a least squares fit. Span This defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum outputs of the transducer.


Hysteresis This defined as the difference in output for a given input value with increasing input and the same input values with decreasing input. Distortion Defined by the difference of the actual output from an expected output as defined by a known input output relationship, whether linear or non-linear. Noise A signal generated internally or externally that is added to the output signal. 3.4. Problems. 3.4.1. Find the specifications of two instruments which give numerical values for the characteristics. 3.4.2. Does it make sense to quote the pressure in an industrial boiler as 30,5231 MPa? Motivate. 3.4.3. Since the 1960s and 70s the distance to a spacecraft can be given to a few m. How is this possible? Do not answer the standard NASA coded pulse. Provide detail. 3.4.4. You buy a temperature sensor with seemingly impressive specifications with a resolution of 1 micro Kelvin. How can you be sure? 3.4.5. Research the effect of transducer characteristics on the claims for global warming.


4. Instruments creating pressure difference as primary signal.

4.1. Objectives. The student should be able to compile a block diagram for an instrument that converts a process variable to a pressure difference which in turn can be converted to an electronic signal. The derivation of equations for simplified models of transducers that convert a physical variable to pressure difference should be accomplished. The transducers should be described in both qualitative(describe with words and sketches) and quantitative (derivation of equations, correct substitution of numerical values) terms. 4.2. Introduction. Processes using fluids (liquids or gases) frequently employ pressure difference as a means to infer some behaviour of the process. In the case of gases in pipes and pressure vessels, the gas pressure always needs to be known to control the process and also in the interests of safety. Liquids in tanks and pipes exert a pressure proportional to the vertical distance below the liquid level in stationary systems. This can be used to infer the height of liquid in tank. A moving fluid in a pipe causes a pressure drop across a restriction which can be used to infer the flow velocity. Relative movement between a fluid and a suitably shaped object can also generate a pressure difference across parts of the object which is related to the relative velocity. Pressure is always measured relative to reference which may in special cases be a vacuum. The primary signal, pressure, or more accurately, pressure difference, then has to be converted to something more useful. To explore this process, refer to figure 6. The pressure difference creates a net force on an elastic membrane which is then deflected. Note that the deflection as shown in the figure is greatly exaggerated. The membrane forms part of two capacitors which are created by adding two perforated plates. The capacitors are electrically isolated from the metal parts of the transducer. The membrane deflects under pressure, causing one capacitance to increase and the other to decrease. This can be processed in a bridge circuit to obtain a electrical voltage proportional to the pressure difference. The signal is further processed as shown in the block diagram. Note that inductive or resistive effects may also be used as will be shown later.


Figure 6. Conversion of pressure difference to an electrical signal. 4.3. Terms and definitions. Gauge pressure is the amount of pressure relative to the prevailing atmospheric pressure, measured in Pascal (Pa). 1 Pa = 1 Newton/m2 = 1 N/m2. Absolute pressure is measured relative to a perfect vacuum and can be expressed as the sum of the gauge pressure and atmospheric pressure as measured by a barometer. 15

Pa = Pg + Pb Pa where Pa = absolute pressure in Pa. Pg = gauge pressure in Pa and Pb = prevailing atmospheric pressure in Pa. In the case of fluids in motion, momentum has to be taken into account. The stagnation or impact pressure is the sum of the static pressure and the dynamic pressure. The static pressure is that pressure whether the fluid is in motion or at rest. The dynamic pressure is due to the kinetic energy when the fluid is decelerated to a standstill. 4.4. Gas pressure. A gas expands to fill the entire volume. Gas laws use absolute pressure. In industrial applications, most pressure gauges and transducers give gauge pressure, that is, relative to ambient or barometric pressure.

Figure 7. Gas pressure.


4.5. Pressure due to height difference in fluids. The pressure or pressure difference is due to static liquid level. Consider a liquid in a stationary vessel in the earths gravitational field with the surface open to the atmosphere and with a pressure gauge fitted h m below the surface of the liquid as shown in the figure. The pressure reading on the gauge is given by Pg = gh Pa, ..(1)

where = density of liquid in kg/m3, g = gravitational acceleration = 9,81 m/s2 and h = height of liquid column above gauge Note that the pressure is relative to the prevailing atmospheric pressure. Open to atmosphere

Liquid in tank

Pressure gauge or transducer

Figure 8. Pressure relative to atmosphere in open tank under gravitation. 17

The height of the liquid above the reference point where the pressure transducer is located is given by: h = Pg /(g) m ..(2)

When it is not feasible to have a pressure gauge at the height h below the surface, as for instance in a well, then compressed air may be slowly bubbled through the liquid as shown in the figure. For moderate depth where the compressibility of the air is not great, the gauge pressure will also be given by equation (1), and the height by equation (2).

Compressed air supply

Pressure gauge or transducer




Figure 9. Depth measured by slowly bubbling compressed air. Where the liquid is in a closed pressurized vessel and the level is to be measured by means of pressure, the arrangement shown in the next figure is required. A differential pressure transducer is required since the liquid is under pressure from the gas or vapour at the top.



Liquid Differential pressure transducer

Figure 10. Level measurement by differential pressure in a closed vessel. The height will be given by: h = P/(g) m ..(3)

where P is the pressure difference in Pa. 4.6. Flow rate measurement using differential pressure. This method is widely used in various forms to measure flow rate in industrial processes. The pressure difference is generated by a fluid, gas or liquid in motion as opposed to the preceding sections where static fluids, in particular liquids, were considered.


4.6.1. Measurement of flow rate with pressure drop over constant area in a Venturi. A restriction is placed in a pipeline as diagrammatically depicted in the figure. Before and after the restriction the pressure is higher and the velocity lower than in the restriction as will be derived. Although the restriction is shown with straight line sections in the sketch, the curvature in practical systems has to comply with certain standards.

Pressure loss

P D1 m Q m3/s P1 Pa

D2 m P2 Pa

Q m3/s

a, b pressure tap points

P=P1-P2 Pa
Figure 11. Venturi tube. Consider incompressible flow which would be applicable for liquids and gases with low pressure difference compared to the absolute pressure. Mass balance:

1 A1 v1 = 2 A2 v 2 kg/s


where i = density at indicated position, kg/m3, Ai = area at indicated position, m2, vi = velocity at indicated position, m/s With incompressible flow, 1 = 2 = kg/m3 yielding: A1v1 = A2v2 m3/s Energy rate or power balance for 1 m3: (Potential energy at 1) + (kinetic energy at 1) = (Potential energy at 2) + (kinetic energy at 2) where rates are considered for the dynamic system which is assumed lossless.

gh1 + v1 2 = gh2 + v 2 2 watt,

where hi m is the pressure height of the fluid under prevailing conditions and g = gravitational acceleration in m/s2. But Pi = ghi Pa as shown before.
P1 + 1 1 v1 2 = P2 + v 2 2 Watt 2 2
A2 v 2 m/s which is substituted into equation 9 to yield: A1

1 2

1 2

From the mass balance or continuity of mass v1 =

A 2 1 2 v 2 1 2 = P1 P2 Pa A1 2 2(P P2 ) 1 v2 = m/s A 2 1 2 A1 and flow rate


2(P P2 ) 1 m3 /s . 2 A 1 2 A1 In practice the energy rate or power balance is not satisfied by the simplified equation 6 and practical equations are of the form: 2(P P2 ) 1 Q = Cd v2 A2 = Cd A2 m3 /s , 2 A 1 2 A1 where Cd is a dimensionless flow coefficient. Q = v2 A2 = A2 4.6.2. Measurement of flow rate with pressure drop over constant area in an orifice. Flow measurement can be done cheaper by using an orifice plate as shown in the figure.

Figure 12. Orifice plate. 22

4.6.3. Velocity measurement with a Pitot tube. This device, shown in the sketch, probes velocity over a very small area. Since Venturi tubes or orifice plate measurements are expensive, the Pitot tube is sometimes used in pipes as a relatively cheap flow rate measurement device. It is also used in aviation. The principle is also used in more some industrial flow meters where the velocity profile is probed at a number of points over the pipe diameter.


Figure 13. Velocity measurement with Pitot tube. A simplified model for incompressible flow at low velocity is given here: Power balance for 1 m3: v2 P2 + = P1 2 2(P1 P2 ) 2 P m/s v = = In practice 2 P m/s v = Cd Note that the pressure drop is generally rather small. 4.6.4. Flow measurement in open channels. Flow measurement in open channels can be found in water treatment plants, process industry and natural water courses where flow rate is to be measured. A simplified model is derived for a rectangular weir.


Figure 14. Rectangular weir. Velocity at elementary area dA is v h = 2 gh m/s But dA = Ldh m2, flow rate through element is dQ = v h dA 3 By integration Qideal = L 2 g H 3 / 2 m3/s. 2 Practical equations are of the form: 3 3 2 2 v0 2 2 3 v0 nH m /s Q = 3,33 L H 2g 10 2g v0 = approach velocity, 25

n = number of flow contractions in weir. 4.6.5. Flow measurement with constant pressure drop and variable flow area. This flow meter has a float with higher density than the flow rate of the fluid to be measured. Consider the float that is placed in a truncated conical tube as shown in the figure. The pressure drop is determined by the weight minus the displaced fluid and is constant at steady state operation. The float is kept suspended by the pressure drop as the flow area varies according to the flow rate. This flow meter is available in a wide variety of forms from a simple see-through device to electronically operated versions. The density of the fluid (gas or liquid) is given by 1 kg/m3. The density of the fluid (gas or liquid) is given by 2 kg/m3. The velocity of the fluid through the annular area between float and tube is given by Bernoullis equation as: 2P v= m/s.

The flow rate is given as Q = C D A2 v = C D A2 where A2 = area of annular opening, m , CD = discharge coefficient, P = pressure drop, Pa.




Figure 15. Conical flow meter. Let Af = projected area of float, m2. Vf = volume of float, m3, The weight of the float in the fluid = V f ( 2 1 ) g N, where g = gravitational acceleration, 9,81 m/s2, 1 = density of fluid, kg/m3, 2 = density of float, kg/m3. Upward force due to fluid pressure = P1Af N. 27

Downward force due to fluid pressure = P2Af N. The total upward and downward forces are in balance at equilibrium: P1 A f = V f ( 2 1 ) g + P2 A f N.
P1 P2 = P = Vf Af

( 2 1 )g


Q = C D A2

V f 2 1 m3/s. 1 A f 1 Find A2 as a function of the floating height x: 2 2 A2 = D x D f m2. 4 Af = C D A2 2 g


( 2 1 )g

From the figure: D x = Di + 2 x tan


Let D f = Di m.
A2 =

( 2 ) m. = (D + 4 xD tan ( ) + 4 x tan ( ) D ) m . 2 2 4
2 2 2

(4 xD tan ( 2 )+ 4 x 4

tan 2

( 2 )) m .

In practice the conical angle is small in order to get a great displacement of the float over the measuring range. The annular area can then be approximated by: A2 x Di tan m2. 2 Substitute into the equation for flow rate: V f 2 3 2g Q = x C D Di tan 1 = K x m /s. 2 Af 1 In practical meters deviations from the ideal linear equation are due to the quadratic term and because CD is to some degree flow rate dependent. This is easily corrected by modern microprocessor-based meters.

( ))

( )


4.7. Exercises. 4.7.1. What should be added to enable maintenance to be carried out on the pressure gauges or pressure transducers without shutting down the plant? 4.7.2. Refer to figure, Level measurement by differential pressure in a closed vessel. What would be the effect of gas bubbles in the lower tube from the liquid to the differential gauge? What would be the effect of liquid in the down-going tube the differential pressure gauge? What is the correct way to install the connecting tubes and differential pressure transducer where liquid is likely to enter the tubes? 4.7.3. A pressure gauge shows the pressure in a gas tank as 850 kPa. A barometer at the plant weather station shows that the prevailing atmospheric pressure is 652 mm Hg. Find the absolute pressure of the gas in the tank. 4.7.4. A pressure gauge is situated 4,5 below an overhead pipeline. Over time, water has condensed in the pipe leading to the pressure gauge, filling it completely. The pressure gauge indicates 750 kPa. Find the actual pressure in the overhead pipeline as well as the percentage error caused by the condensate. 4.7.5. The static pressure of a moving fluid in a pipeline is to be measured. Investigate the effect of the connecting hole or orifice. What standards apply in the RSA? 4.7.6. A horizontal Venturi tube has a pipe diameter of 100 mm and a throat diameter of 75 mm. The fluid is water with a density of 1000 kg/m3. The discharge coefficient is 0,96. The mean flow velocity in the pipe is 3m/s. a) Calculate the flow rate in m3/s at the given flow velocity. b) Calculate the pressure difference at the given flow velocity. 4.7.7. A triangular weir is shown in the sketch. This type of weir is particularly suitable for spot checks of flow rate in open channels. a) Derive the equation for the flow rate Q in terms of flow height H. b) Calculate the height H if Q = 1,0 m3/s and = 90.


Figure 16. Triangular weir. 4.7.8. A Pitot static tube with 10 mm diameter is placed concentrically inside a pipe with 20 mm diameter. The flow velocity far from the Pitot tube is 3 m/s. What velocity would the Pitot tube indicate?

Figure 17. Pitot tube inside a pipe. 30

4.7.9. The equations for the flow rate through the Venturi or orifice plate were derived for the device installed horizontally. What happens when the flow is vertically upwards (or any other angle)? How can this be compensated for?


5. Converting force to an elastic displacement signal.

5.1. Objectives. The student should be able to compile a block diagram for an instrument that converts a force or pressure difference to an electronic signal. The derivation of equations for simplified models of transducers that convert a force variable to a deflection or displacement which in turn can be converted to an electronic signal should be accomplished. The transducers should be described in both qualitative(describe with words and sketches) and quantitative (derivation of equations, correct substitution of numerical values) terms. 5.2. Introduction. In the previous section, a pressure difference was created in the measurement of pressure, liquid level and flow-rate. The pressure difference creates a force which can, amongst others, be converted to an elastic displacement. In industry, force measurements are often required, and, by using gravity, to infer the mass of the contents of trucks, silos and tanks. It is used in conveyer belt systems together with speed sensors to measure mass flow rate. The deflection or displacement can be converted to an electrical signal by using resistive, capacitive, inductive, optical or piezoelectric transducers each within it own area of applicability.


Figure 18. Conversion of force to an electrical signal. Broadly speaking, strain is proportional to applied force provided the material remains elastic. The relation between strain and force is given by: L F , = = L AE = strain, m/m, F = force, N, E = modulus of elasticity or Youngs modulus, Pa, A = cross-sectional area, m2, L = length, m, L = elastic displacement, m. Temperature acts as an interference in two ways. Firstly, the material expands with increasing temperature and contracts when the temperature drops. This change will be incorrectly interpreted as due to pressure or force and will cause an output even if no pressure or force is applied. This manifests a zero offset. Secondly, the modulus of elasticity temperature dependent and changes the slope of strain versus pressure or force. 33

5.3. Converting force to strain with an elastic cylinder. The cylindrical transducer is used to measure fairly large forces such as in weigh bridges and material in containers, as part of mass measurement. These are called load cells.

Figure 19. Cylindrical load cell. The strain in the axial direction is given by:
L F m/m = L AE L = axial deformation, m, L = length, m,


F = applied force, N, A = cross-sectional area, m2, E = modulus of elasticity or Youngs modulus, Pa. If the material is stretched in the axial direction, then it will shorten around the circumference, or transversally. Since the material is compressed, the transversal deformation is less:
d L , = - d L where = Poissons ratio. At an angle the strain is given by: L 2 L By making use of the axial strain as well as the transversal strain, conversion to an electronic signal can be made which will have only a very small temperature effect.

( ) =

(1 + (1 + ) cos(2 )) , L

5.4. Converting torque to strain with an elastic cylinder. This transducer offers great challenges if it is mounted on a rotating shaft. Strain can be measured using a number physical effects. Refer to the figure. The strain on the surface of the torsion bar at angle is given by: T ( ) = 3 sin (2 ) m/m r G T = torque, Nm, r = radius, m, E G= = modulus of rigidity, Pa, 2(1 + ) E = Youngs modulus, Pa, = Poissons ratio. 2T (1 + ) Strain is a maximum at = 45 and is (45 o ) = max = r 3 E 35

By measuring the strain along the 45 lines, positive and negative strain (see arrows) for the torque as shown is used to make conversion to an electrical signal less temperature sensitive.

Figure 20. Torque measurement. 5.5. Converting pressure differential to a deflection with a stretched membrane. A pressure difference causes a taught membrane to bulge towards the lower pressure. The transducer described here, operates with a very small deflection which is only a small fraction of the thickness of the material. It is placed under tension by a conical ring which tries to expand a rim on the membrane circumference. The displacement can be converted to an electrical signal by using a suitable physical effect.


Figure 21. Membrane to convert pressure difference to displacement. Assume a thin membrane to which a radial force is applied around the circumference. Compile equations for the forces in balance when the force due to the pressure difference is balanced by the component of radial tension. F1 = a 2 P N, the force due to the pressure difference. a F2 = 2a cos = 2AS r At equilibrium, F1 = F2 ,find radius of curvature R: S 2a 2 = a 2 P R 2S m. R = P Find equation for membrane curve: From figure:


aP 2S rP cos = 2S y = R sin - R sin cos =

y =

2S (sin - sin ) P 1 1 2S rP 2 2 aP 2 2 = ) - 1-( ) 1-( P 2S 2S Simplify with: n(n-1 ) 2 ( 1+x ) n = 1+nx+ x +... 2! and keep linear terms: 2 2 2S r 2 P2 P 2 a P [a - r 2] m y 1-1+ m= 8 2 2 P 8S 4S S
a P m 4S This deflection can be converted to a change in capacitance as will be shown later.

h =

5.6. Exercises. 5.6.1. A steel cylinder is use as primary transducer in a load cell. Its length is 50 mm and its diameter is 20 mm. The linear temperature coefficient of expansion is = 1.1x10-7 K-1. Youngs modulus of elasticity is E = 210 GPa at 20C and temperature coefficient E = 2.4 10 5 K-1. Poissons ratio = 0.3. It is stretched by a force of 10 kN and is subjected to temperature variations. E a) Find the change in length due to the force of 10 kN at constant temperature. b) Find the strain in the axial and transversal directions if a force of 10 kN is applied at constant temperature. c) Find the change in length if the temperature increases by 10C with zero force applied.


d) Find the change in length due only to the change in Youngs modulus if the temperature increases by 10C with an applied force of 10 kN. e) Compressive strength of the steel is 340 MPa. Assuming maximum design compression of 100 MPa, find the full scale load cell force. 5.6.2. The sketch shows a cantilever beam which is used as the elastic element in a load cell. The beam deflects if a force is applied as shown in the sketch. The relation between deflection y m of the end point of the beam and the force F N is given by: F Ewt 3 = , y 4L3 E = Youngs modulus Pa, w = width of beam, m, L = length of beam, m, t = thickness of beam, m (and not t for time in this case). Linear coefficient of expansion of steel: = 11,88 x 10-6/K; Temperature coefficient of E: -239,4 x 10-6/K. Derive an equation for the fractional change in spring constant per unit temperature change and determine it for the given beam.


Figure 22. Cantilever beam. Additional information:

6x m/m. Ewt 2 F L3 F = Deflection at end point y max = EI 3 E wt 3

Strain at x: ( x ) = F


L3 m. 3

5.6.3. The cantilever beam as shown in the sketch above is hardly practical as a load cell. How is the cantilever implemented in practical load cells? 40

6. Converting displacement or strain to electrical signals. 6.1. Objectives. The student should be able to compile a block diagram for an instrument that converts displacement or strain to an electronic signal. The derivation of equations for simplified models of transducers that convert a deflection or strain to a change in the parameters of an electrical component which in turn can be converted to an electronic signal should be accomplished. The transducers should be described in both qualitative(describe with words and sketches) and quantitative (derivation of equations, correct substitution of numerical values) terms. 6.2. Introduction. The displacement or strain associated with force in load cells or pressure in differential pressure cells is generally very small. The materials that exhibit the physical effects to convert displacement and strain to electrical signals are mostly also temperature sensitive. The materials that are used for the elastic conversion of force or pressure to displacement, are also temperature sensitive. For this reason the physical implementation of conversion to electrical signals can be made much less temperature sensitive if the properties of both elastic and electrical materials are matched.


Figure 23. Conversion of displacement or strain to an electrical signal. 6.2. Resistive strain gauges.

6.2.1. Introduction and objectives. The strain gauge is a resistor which can be mounted with adhesive on an elastic sensor. When subjected to strain, its resistance changes proportional to the strain. This may seem easy to use, but there are some physical effects which can render the transducer useless: The resistance of the strain gauge changes with temperature. Both the strain gauge and the elastic member expand with increasing temperature, but at different rates. The modulus of elasticity of the elastic member changes with temperature.


This element is a very popular transducer in mechanical systems. It is used in industrial instruments and research in mechanical engineering. The reader should be able to define and interpret the characteristics of strain gauge transducers and describe their operation from a phenomenological viewpoint and be able to describe their operation coupled to the mechanical environment. 6.2.2. The strain gauge factor. Since we are dealing with resistive strain gauges, the theory of resistors applied to electric circuit theory can be found Appendix B. A phenomenological theory (meaning we will not dwell on esoteric theory such as quantum physics) of resistance will be given here. Refer to the figure. The resistance of a uniform conductor is given by l R= A where

= specific resistivity, m l = length, m and A = cross-sectional area, m2.

When subjected to deformation, the length of the conductor changes. Assume it lengthens as shown in the figure. The cross-sectional area will then decrease, but not such that the volume remains constant. The material is under pressure and Poissons ratio describes this effect. Three effects determine the change in resistance: Change in length, change in cross-sectional area and change due to the internal pressure in the material.


Figure 24. Strain gauge and strain in an electrical conductor. Find differential elements:
ln R = ln + ln l ln A dR d dl dA = + R l A R l A = + R l A

But A =
A =

d 2 ,with d diameter in m.

4 From Poissons ratio : lateral strain = - x longitudinal strain

2 d d m2


A d l 2 = 2 A d l R l (1 + 2 ) + = R l

R R Strain gauge factor m = R = R = 1 + 2 + l l l l

Examples of strain gauge materials. Material Strain gauge factor m Constantan 45% Ni, 55% Cu 2,1 Nichrome V 80% Ni, 20% Cr 2,5 Ni -12 Pt 4,8 p-Si 175 n-Si -133 6.2.2. Force measurement with a cylinder and strain gauges. Strain gauges can be mounted on the cylinder in a number of configurations. In this example two strain gauges are placed in the axial direction and two on the circumference, a total of four. These are then connected in a bridge. This configuration has a number of advantages.


Figure 25. Strain gauges on cylinder connected in a bridge. Strain in axial direction = 1, R1 = R2 = R(1-m1). Strain in transversal direction = -1, R3 = R4 = R(1+m1). Let m1 = . Find the output voltage of the bridge: Vo R3 R2 (1 + ) = = Vb R3 + R1 R2 + R4 2 + ( 1)

Note that the relation is not linear with strain, however, ( 1) << 2 in the range of strain reasonably smaller than that which would cause plastic deformation. Verification of this will done in an exercise. The strain gauges are also temperature sensitive: RT = R(T ) = R0 (1 + (T T0 )) = R0 (1 + T ) , where 46

RT = resistance at temperature T K in ohm, R0 = resistance at reference temperature T0 K, , = temperature coefficient of resistance, K-1. Since the strain gauges are mounted on the same steel cylinder which is a good thermal conductor, all will be at the same temperature. The placing of the load cell in industrial use should take this requirement into account. The thermal expansion of the steel cylinder and the strain gauges can also create a strain: temp = ( steel straingaug e )T , where

steel = linear coefficient of expansion of steel, K-1, strain gauge = linear coefficient of expansion of strain gauge material, K-1, T = temperature change, K or C.
Finally, the modulus of elasticity or Youngs modulus is also temperature sensitive, ET = E (T ) = E0 (1 + (T T0 )) = E0 (1 + T ) Pa. ET = modulus of elasticity at temperature T K in Pa, E0 = modulus of elasticity at reference temperature T0 K, Pa, = temperature coefficient of modulus of elasticity, K-1. This effect cannot be compensated for by the bridge arrangement. 6.2.3. Torque measurement. Refer to the figure. Utilize the strain at the 45 lines: 2T (1 + ) . (45 o ) = 45 = r 3 E The strain gauges are placed in a bridge as shown in the figure; the output is given by: V0 = = m 45 Vb


Figure 26. Torque measurement. 6.3. Capacitance transducers for differential pressure.

6.3.1. Introduction and objectives. Since we are dealing with capacitance transducers, the theory of capacitors will be briefly revisited in Appendix B. Firstly, the simplified theory of a capacitor: Consider two equal parallel flat plates each with area A m2 and distance D m apart. The volume is filled with a dielectric material with relative permittivity pr (note that the symbol r is generally use for relative permittivity, but to avoid confusion the symbol pr is used here). Since the material occurs in space with permittivity p0 (or 0) = 8,854x10-7 Farad/meter, the A p r p0 Farad. permittivity of the region between the plates is prp0 . The capacitance is given by C = D


Figure 27. Capacitor. The capacitance equation can be used to design sensors for specific applications. Firstly, by varying the area A it can be used to measure displacement. This achieved by (say) moving the upper electrode in the figure to the right since by doing so the area over which the field act is reduced. Secondly, the distance D can be changed in a displacement transducer. Thirdly, the area and distance can be kept constant, but the permittivity pr can be allowed to vary. By moving a dielectric in or out of the common volume, displacement can be converted changes in capacitance. This is widely used in level measurement of liquids and granular solids. Fourthly, by keeping the area and distance as well as the dielectric volume constant, moisture constant of material (water has a high relative permittivity, about 84 relative to air) can be converted to capacitance changes. It may also be used in thickness measurement of plastic sheeting, etc. The student should be able to derive simplified models for capacitance-based pressure transducers. 6.3.2. Capacitance differential pressure cell. A pressure transducer is shown in the figure.


Figure 28. Differential pressure to capacitance. A pressure difference elastically displaces the central electrode relative to the fixed electrodes. Let P = P1 P2 in Pa, the deflection from the zero position is d = KP m. A pr p0 A p r p0 C1 = F and C 2 = F. D+d Dd The bridge output is given by: 1 V0 j C 2 R . The rest of the derivation is left as an exercise. = Vb R + R 1 + 1 j C 2 jC1 6.3.3. Stretched membrane capacitance cell. A pressure difference causes a taught membrane to bulge towards the lower pressure. The membrane, which forms one electrode of a capacitor, bulges towards a fixed electrode (increasing capacitance) and away from another fixed electrode (decreasing capacitance) as shown in the figure. The design whereby one capacitance increases and the other decreases inherently compensates for most of the temperature effects. Note that some pressure transducers operate with a single fixed electrode only and design electronics to compensate for temperature effects.


Figure 29. Stretched membrane capacitance transducer. For small deflections the form of the membrane is given by: P 2 y= (a r 2 ) m. 4S P = pressure difference, Pa, S = membrane tension, N/m, a = radius of membrane, m, r = radius at ring element of capacitance, m. The capacitance of a ring element relative to the upper fixed electrode is given by: 2rdr dC = p r p0 F. dy For small deflections:


1 1 1 1 y 1 + m-1. = y d d dy d 1 d From this approximation the capacitance has two parts, a fixed part and a variable part: 2 p r p 0 a a 2 p r p0 a 4 p0 p r y C 0 + C = + P F. 1 + r dr = 0 d d d 8Sd 2 C a 2 P = The sensitivity . The change in capacitance is proportional to the pressure difference. C0 8Sd A similar derivation can be done for the lower electrode. As before, a bridge circuit is used to convert the differential capacitance to a voltage.
6.4. Inductive transducers for displacement.

6.4.1. Introduction and objectives. The circuit theory of inductance will be briefly discussed in Appendix B. A simplified model of an inductor is shown in the figure. In sensors the aim is generally to confine the magnetic flux as far as possible to defined and predictable paths. This aim can never be entirely achieved, but with modern materials the error is generally very small. Refer to the figure. The self inductance of a network is given by: N2 L= H, Rel where N = number of windings, Rel = total reluctance or resistance to magnetic flux in Ampere/Weber. The theory behind this sensor is stated here in short form: H = magnetic field strength in Ampere/m or A/m, i = current in A, for a path with n discrete members as shown in the figure: 52


l k = N i A,

where k denotes a path.

Figure 30. Inductor. B = magnetic flux density in Tesla (T) or Weber/m2, = r0 = permeability in Henry/m, 0 = 4x10-7 H/m. B = H T. The magnetic flux is given by = BA Weber. Define F = N i, the magneto motive force or mmf given as Ampere or Ampere-windings to emphasize the role of windings. 53

H k lk =
n n

k = N i A k Ak



lk = Rel , reluctance in A/Wb. k Ak

N N 2 Inductance L = = Henry or H. i Rel

6.4.2. Inductive displacement transducer for force and pressure. Assume the iron sections (which may be ferrous or ferrite material) to have infinite permeability. The air gaps are therefore the only parts with reluctance.

Figure 31. Inductive displacement transducer. 54

The total reluctance is thus given by: 2x A/m. Rel = 0 A

N 2 A 0 1 Inductance = H. 2 x Any of the previous membrane pressure transducers or the beam force transducer can be used with the inductive transducer. It may also be used in differential mode with two sets of windings.
6.5. Exercises. 6.5.1. A strain gauge has a nominal resistance of 100 . The strain gauge factor m = 2,5. Find the change in resistance if it is subjected to a strain of 10-3 m/m. 6.5.2. A resistor of Constantan (45% Ni + 55% Cu) is used to measure hydrostatic pressure changes. Nominal resistance: 100 . Pressure sensitivity: -7x10-12 m2N-1. Temperature coefficient of resistance: 2x10-5 K-1. a) Find the change in resistance for a change in pressure of 10 MPa (~100 Atm) at constant temperature. b) Find the change in resistance for a temperature change of 1C or 1K. 6.5.3. Refer to the strain gauges on the cylinder in 6.2.2. Let Poissons ratio = 0,3 and the strain gauge factor m = 2,1. Investigate the bridge output for a strain of 10-4 and 10-3 and comment on the linearity.

V0 = = m 45 for torque measurement, section 6.2.3. Vb 6.5.5. How can the strain gauge bridge be applied to a rotating shaft?
6.5.4. Verify 6.5.6. Shown that the strain which increases linearly with distance, as measured by a strain gauge, is given by the strain at the centre of the strain gauge. 6.5.7. Show that

V0 K P = for 6.3.2. Vb 2D

6.5.8. Differentially connected inductors are used in a membrane differential pressure transducer. Show how you would connect the inductors in a bridge and derive the output if x = KP.

Figure 32. Differential inductance transducer for differential pressure.


7. Converting temperature to electrical signals.

7.1. Introduction and objectives. The performance of some temperature transducers must be derived and quantitatively explained. The student should quantitatively explain temperature measurement using electrical resistance and thermocouples in terms of the relevant physics. Temperature measurement using radiation should be explained in terms of the radiation laws. Temperature measurement is important for the control of many industrial processes. Temperature is measured over a very wide range with the result that it is not possible to use a single transducer from 0K to 3000K . Thermal power can be transmitted by conduction, convection and radiation, or a combination thereof to the transducer. Electrical resistance is temperature dependent and is excellent for measuring temperature provided the materials are chosen for repeatability and good sensitivity. Thermocouples, which generate a voltage related to temperature, are perhaps the most widely used. Again the choice of materials is essential for repeatability and stability. In some processes temperature is measured without direct contact by making use of radiation. In all cases thermal energy is exchanged until equilibrium is reached. The transient performance of temperature measurement is important for control systems. 7.2. Heat transfer for thermal measurement systems. Temperature measurements are generally not instantaneous. Heat transfer has to take place from the fluid being measured to the transducer. In an environment where temperature changes occur rapidly, the indicated temperature of the sensor differs from the process temperature. In order to appreciate this difference, consider the following simplified theory of heat transfer. Consider flow of thermal power through a solid with cross sectional area A m2 perpendicular to heat flow and with thickness d m. Refer to the figure. The temperatures at the surfaces are T1 Kelvin and T2 K respectively. Since we are working with differences in temperature, temperature may also be expressed in Celsius. Definition: The thermal power flow is given by: KA (T2 T1 ) Watt, Q= d where 57

K= specific thermal conductance W/(mK).

Figure 33. Thermal resistance of solid material. Definition: Next consider thermal flow from a fluid to the surface of solid. Refer to the figure. Thermal power flows via a boundary layer. Q = hA(T f Ta ) Watt, where h = heat transfer coefficient W/(m2K), A = area perpendicular to thermal power flow m2, Tf = bulk fluid temperature in K or Celsius, Ta = temperature on surface in K or Celsius.


Figure 34. Thermal power flow from fluid to solid surface. Definition: Thermal capacitance is obtained by considering a solid with uniform temperature as outlined in the figure, but with the temperature relatively slowly time varying due to thermal power flow: dT Q = mcs m Watt, dt where Tm = uniform temperature in Kelvin or Celsius since we will assume a reference temperature, cs = specific thermal capacitance in J/(Kg K).


Figure 35. Thermal capacitance. Consider thermal power flow through composite resistance, say boundary layer and solid as shown in the figure: 1 d W/K + RT = Rtotal = Rlayer + Rsolid = hA kA The thermal conductance is given by: 1 A = = UA K/W, where U W/(m2K) is the total heat transfer coefficient. Similar relations could be derived for symmetric 1 1 d 1 d + + Ah k h k cylindrical applications such as a thermocouple in a well.


Figure 36. Composite layers. Now consider heat transfer through a composite thermal conductance to an isothermal body: (Thermal power inflow)-(thermal power outflow)=(rate of accumulation of thermal energy) d UA((T ff Tref ) (Tmm Tref )) 0 = mcs (Tmm Tref ) dt Consider deviations around Tref: dT mc s dTm UA(T f Tm ) 0 = mc s m , or T f Tm 0 = dt UA dt mcs The time constant = seconds (Why?). The analogue electrical network is shown in the figure. UA


Figure 37. Thermal RC network.

7.3. Temperature scales. Formal definitions of temperature can be found in books on physics and thermodynamics, but these are not useful for constructing measurement sensors. Practical temperature scales can be defined by the triple point (gas, liquid and solid), the boiling point and the freezing point of some standard substances. These scales are used for calibrating temperature transducers.
Defining fixed points
Tp hydrogen Bp hydrogen 25/76 atm Bp hydrogen Bp neon Tp oxygen Bp oxygen Tp water Bp water Fp zinc

-259,34 -256,108 -252.87 -246,048 -218,789 -182,962 +0,01 100 419,58

13,81 17,042 20,28 27,102 54,361 90,188 273,16 373,15 692,73


Fp silver Fp gold Tp = triple point Bp = boiling point Fp = freezing point

961,93 1064,43

1235,08 1337,58

Between these temperatures interpolating instruments are used:

Pt resistance Pt resistance Pt, 10%Rh&Pt thermocouple Optical pyrometer 13,81-273,15K 0-630,74C 630,74-1064,43C Above 1064,43 20 order polynomial Modified Callendar Parabola Plancks law

7.4. Resistance temperature measurement. 7.4.1. Theory. The temperature dependence of suitable materials can be used to construct temperature transducers. Platinum is the best candidate due to the stability of its properties. For the purposes of control systems, a linear increase in resistance with increase in temperature is modelled by: RT = R(T ) = R0 (1 + (T T0 )) = R0 (1 + T ) , where RT = resistance at temperature T K in ohm, R0 = resistance at reference temperature T0 K, , = temperature coefficient of resistance, K-1. Temperature coefficients over the range 0-100C. Platinum = +3.92*10-3/K Nickel = +6.80*10-3/K Copper = +4.30*10-3/K Tungsten = +4.80*10-3/K Iron = (+2.00 - +6.00)*10-3/K Manganin (an alloy) = +2.00*10-5/K Constantan (an alloy) = +4.00*10-5/K Carbon = -7.00*10-4/K Electrolytes = (-2.00 - -9.00)*10-2/K Thermistors (components) = (-1.50 - -6.00)*10-2/K 63

Platinum must be of a certified purity which can be verified with

R100 1,3925 , ratio of resistance at 100C and 0C. R0

7.4.2. Compensating for variations in connecting lead resistance. When a resistance temperature detector (RTD) is used, the connecting leads are also temperature sensitive. Three configurations are shown in the figure.

Figure 38. RTD configurations. 64

7.5. Thermocouple temperature measurements.

7.5.1. Theory. When two metals are connected with the junctions at different temperatures, an emf is generated. This effect is known as the Seebeck effect. This theory should be read in conjunction with the Peltier effect and the Thomson effect.

Figure 39. Thermocouple. Modern measurements have shown that the emf versus temperature can be described by order polynomials. However, over a limited range, a second order approximation can be used. e = ATc+0,5BT2 with T2 = 0; T1 = Tc: Metal A V/C B V/C2 Iron +16,7 -0,0297 Copper +2,7 +0.0079 Constantan -34,6 -0,0558 7.5.2. Rules. When using thermocouples to measure temperature, three rules apply. Rule of homogeneous metals: A thermo-electric current cannot be sustained by heat alone in a network of homogeneous metals. Nonhomogeneous metals may generate spurious or parasitic emfs.


Rule of connecting metals: The algebraic sum of thermal emfs around a network consisting of metals equals zero, provided the whole network is at the same temperature. This means that if one has a thermocouple of two metals, a connecting wire of a third metal may be used without affecting the emf, provided the extra two junctions are at the same temperature. It also implies that if the thermal emf e2,1 for metals 1 and as well as e3,1 for 3 and 1 are known, then e2,3 = e2,1+e3,1, provided all the junctions at temperatures T1 and T2 as shown in the figure.

Figure 40. Rule of connecting metals. Rule of intermediate temperatures: If the same two metal junctions at T1 and T2 generate ea, and at T2 and T3 generate eb, then with the junctions at T1 and T3 the emf ec = ea + eb.


Figure 41. Intermediate temperatures. From the description thus far, it is obvious that one of the junctions be kept at a known temperature a thermocouple is to be used as a temperature transducer. 7.5.3. Thermocouple types. Type Material Temperature range Slope 4,80x10-2mV/K 5,76x10-2mV/K 7,50x10-2mV/K 3,96x10-2mV/K 1,11x10-2mV/K 1,02x10-2mV/K

T Copper/Constantan 0-400C J Iron/Constantan 0-760C E Chromel/Constantan 0-1000C K Chromel/Alumel 0-1100C B Platinum/Platinum+30%Rhodium 0-1820C R Platinum+13%Rhodium/Platinum 630-1665C S Platinum+10%Rhodium/Platinum 630-1665C Notes: Slope with reference at 0C Constantan: ~ 40% Ni, 60% Cu Chromel: ~ 90% Ni, 10% Cr Alumel: ~ 94% Al, 2% Ni, Si, etc


Some of these thermocouples may also be used below 0C 7.5.4. Thermocouple reference junction. The reference junction must be at a known temperature which is measured by a sensor (other than a thermocouple!) such as resistance temperature sensor or the modern semiconductor pn-junction type. 7.6. Temperature measurement using radiation. Where it is not feasible to use a contact sensor such as a thermocouple or RTD, radiation methods can be used. Radiation transducers typically utilise radiation in the range 0,3m - 40m. Visible radiation fall within the spectral range of 0,3m 0,720m. 7.6.1. Theory. The concept of black body radiation is used in radiation thermometry. A black body, best approximated by the entry hole into a cavity, radiates according to Plancks law for spectral hemispherical radiation intensity: C15 w( ) = C2 W/(m2m), where T 1 = wavelength, m, C1 = 3,743x108 Wm4/m2 C2 = 1,4387x104mK.


Figure 42. Spectrum (w()) of black body radiation. The positions of the peaks are given by p =
2891 m. T

The total power over the spectrum is given by Wt =



d = 5,67 10 8 T 4 W/m2 1

Actual radiators differ from black body radiators. The hemispherical spectral emittance is defined by ( , T ) = In general is a function of both and T.

wa < 1. wb


Radiation from an actual emitter is given by: w( )a =

C15 ( , T )


W/(m2m) and Wta = W ( ) d W/m2.


Assume that Wta can be experimentally determined. Define the total hemispherical emittance: t (T ) =

then modelled as Wta = 5,67 10 8 T 4 t (T ) W/m2. A body with constant ( , T ) is defined as a grey emitter. In general radiation

Wta . The total emitted power is Wt

thermometers operate over a limited band and (b,T) =

b a

5 C 2 / ( T)

-1 )d

5 C 2 / ( T )

1/ (

-1 )d

Emittance depends on the size, form and surface of the body as well as the angle through which observations are made. Emittance = 1 r t , where r = coefficient of reflection, t = coefficient of transmission. In practice the part of the spectrum that is suited to measurements must be found. The absorption of the radiation by molecules in the transmission path attenuates the radiation reaching the sensor. While absorption is a disturbance in the case of temperature measurement, it is useful in the infra-red analysis of gas mixtures. 7.6.2. Detectors. A number of detectors are available. These are designed to absorb the maximum amount of incoming radiation. The temperature of the detector rises until equilibrium is used. Thermal detectors measure this temperature rise. Examples are thin film resistance temperature transducers, thin film thermocouples and thin film thermistors. There are also detectors based on the piro-electric effect which operate over a large range of wavelengths, but the radiation needs to be dT chopped since this type of detector delivers a current given by i s = K A, where K is a constant depending on the material and T is the dt temperature. Photon detectors do not depend on temperature rise and has a faster response. Types are photo conductive, photo voltaic and photo electromagnetic which uses the Hall effect.


7.7. Exercises. 7.7.1. A platinum resistance temperature transducer has a first order lumped model. Mass: 0.1 kg, specific heat is 250 J/kgK, surface area is 0,005 m2, total heat transfer coefficient is 50 W/m2K, Resistance at 0C is 25,5 , temperature coefficient of resistance is 3,85x10-3/K. Find the time constant. 7.7.2. Find the surface temperature whereby a black body would emit 1 MW/m2. 7.7.3. A resistance thermometer of nominally 100 carries a measuring current of 10 mA. Its surface area is 3,5x10-4 m2. a) In still air the total heat transfer coefficient is U = 8,5 W/m2K. Find the steady state error due to self heating. b) In still water the total heat transfer coefficient is U = 567 W/m2K. Find the steady state error due to self heating. 7.7.4. Find the open circuit voltage of an iron-copper thermocouple with one junction at 200C and the other at 0C. 7.7.5. Analyse the transient response of a thermocouple in an oven where heat transfer is modelled by radiation only. The thermocouple is insignificant in relation to the oven.


8. Diverse topics from measurement and control.

8.1. Introduction and objectives. This chapter concludes the course with a discussion of few short topics. The student should be able to describe some topics with sketches, equations, graphs and (few) words. Derivations should be performed. Numerical answers by substitution into the correct equations should also be done. 8.2. Control valves. 8.2.1. Introduction. Approximately 15% of the cost of a plant in the process industry goes into measurement and control. Of this cost of control about two thirds go into control valves. Thus, in a chemical process plant the cost of control valves can run into hundreds of millions. It stands to reason that a few minutes lecture time can only be a very brief introduction to this topic. Interested students can download any number of handbooks from the Internet, the Control valve handbook, 4th ed, (Fisher) Emerson Process Management, 2005, is a good example. A control valve forms a controllable flow resistance and has to be chosen correctly to achieve control of fluid flow. At rated flow approximately 33% of the total pressure drop takes place over the control valve. This is best done with a computer program. The flow rate through a valve is given by:

q = C v K f P where Kf depends on the density of the fluid.

8.2.2. Characteristics. The standard symbol for control valve usage is Cv. The value depends on the operating point as a function of valve stem position:


Cv X = , linear characteristic. C v max X max

C Cv = v max C v min C v min Cv = C v max C v max C v min
X X max

, equal percentage characteristic.

1 C X v max 1 C X v min max

, hyperbolic characteristic.

Cv = C v max

X , square root characteristic. X max


Figure 43. Control valve and pneumatic force motor. 8.2.3. Positioning of stem. A valve with a pneumatic (compressed air) motor is shown in the figure. Only the valve motor is shown in the figure. The valve stem position is controlled by feedback.


Figure 44. Positioning servo for valve. The positioner servo positions the valve stem against varying process pressure as well as friction of the valve stem seal packing. In practical installations the valve has to investigated for sonic flow in the case of gases and for cavitation in the case of liquids. Very high gas velocity through a valve causes a lot of noise. In the case of liquids high velocity through the valve could cause the pressure to drop below the boiling point of the liquid at the prevailing temperature. As the liquid slows down when the area increases, the vapour bubbles collapse with very high pressure pulses and when this happens against the valve material, it is eroded. Note that bends, reducers, etc play a role in this. 8.2.4. Sizing of control valves. Many factors influence the choice of control valves. For liquids: Sub critical flow occurs if the liquid never encounters a pressure lower than the vapour pressure at the prevailing temperature of the liquid. Critical flow is encountered if the pressure at some stage through the valve falls below the boiling point. Cavitation occurs, which require a different design strategy since cavitation will cause serious damage to the valve. Turbulent flow occurs for Reynolds numbers > 2000. For laminar flow different design equations apply. vd Note: The Reynolds number Re = , dimensionless,

v = flow velocity, m/s, d = characteristic dimension, m, details of which can be found in any treatise on fluid mechanics, 75

= density of the fluid, kg/m3, = dynamic viscosity, Pas.

An example of formulas for a valve installed full bore (no reducers) for liquid service, used in a computer program, are given here: Gf sub - critical Cv = q P
Cv = q Cf Gf Pv Pv P1 - 0.96 - 0.28 Pc


q laminar Cv = 0.0723 P The maximum value of Cv from the three formulas is used.

For these formulas the symbols have the following meanings: q = flow rate m3/h Cf = critical flow factor for the valve which depends on the manufacturers design, typically 0,4 to 0,96. P = pressure drop in bar. Gf = specific density of liquid relative to water at 15C. P1 = absolute upstream pressure, bar. Pv = absolute vapour pressure of the liquid at the operating temperature, bar. For water it is 1,01 bar at 100C and 0,069 bar at 38C. Consult thermodynamic tables. Pc = absolute pressure at the thermodynamic critical point for the liquid, bar. For water it is 221 bar at 374C. = viscosity, centipoise.


8.3. Intrinsically safe instrumentation.

8.3.1. Introduction. From time to time there are news items on fires and explosions in industry where combustible vapour, gas or pulverised material ignited. In 1913 an explosion in a British coal mine led to the death of 439 mine workers. The explosion was initiated by an electrical signalling system. This prompted research into the causes of ignition and what can be done to remove the threat of ignition. It was found that that a combustible mixture requires a minimum ignition energy. By keeping the electrical signal energy below that level ensures that the electrical signalling system can never ignite the mixture. This limiting of ignition energy has to be done in such a way that that the energy released during normal as well as fault conditions are always below the minimum. Intrinsically safe instrumentation and signalling are certified by legally appointed authorities to comply with standards for intrinsically safe apparatus. In practice the electrical power is limited to approximately 3 Watt maximum, along with other conditions to limit energy release. Electrical motors, where the energy release is potentially a lot higher, are manufactured and certified as flame proof. This is a totally different concept. If a mixture of air and gas ignite in say the terminal box of a motor, the flame must follow a long path to the open atmosphere. The path is so long that the flame cools off and is expelled as harmless gas to the outside where it can no longer ignite any outside gas mixtures. 8.4.2. Advantages. The advantages of intrinsically safe systems is as follows: Lower cost. Casings are cheaper and lighter. It is not necessary to use expensive armoured cable. Live maintenance. It is not necessary to switch off control loops for calibration or adjustments of field apparatus. Greater reliability. The system does not depend on covers being correctly and promptly replaced after maintenance. Personnel safety. The voltage is too low to cause fatal shock.


8.4.3. Prevention of ignition. Ignition can take place through electric arcing or by electrically heated surfaces. Note that personnel are to use spark-free tools as well as intrinsically safe electrical instrumentation in classified zones in a plant By experimentation ignition curves for combustible gas and air mixtures were obtained. For resistance: Minimum current for ignition against voltage. For inductance: Minimum current for ignition. For capacitance: Minimum voltage for ignition. There is no correlation between ignition by hot surfaces and ignition by sparks or arcs because of totally different chemical mechanisms. 8.4.4. Safety barrier.

Figure 45. Intrinsically safe installations. 78

Intrinsically safe systems operate in three regions: Apparatus in the safe area: Design may be uncertified, provided it does not involve the barrier. The safety barrier: This contains Zener diodes to withstand heavy current, resistors to withstand heavy current and fuses. May not contain energy storage elements. This must be certified apparatus. The danger area: Cables and devices. Energy storage limited. Intrinsically safe devices only. Certified by SABS in South Africa. 8.4.5. Zones.
Classification of danger zones: shown here in the interests of safety. [ref] Nature of hazard Class II Dusts Group E-Metal dusts Group F-Carbon black. coal, coke dusts Group G-Grain dust, flour, plastics, sugar.

Class I Gases and vapors Group A-Acetylene Group B-Hydrogen or gases or similar hazards, such as manufactured gas, butadiene, ethylene oxide, propyleneoxide. Group C-Ethyl ether, ethytene, cyclopropane, unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, acetaldehyde, isoprene. Group D-Gasoline, hexane; naphtha, benzine, butane, propane, alcohol, acetone, benzol, lacquer solvent, natural gas, acrylonitrile, ethylene dichloride, propylene, styrene, vinyl acetate, vinyl chloride, p-xylene. For heavier-than-air vapors, below grade sumps, pits, et al, in Div. 2 locations. Areas around packing glands; areas where flammable liquids are handled or transferred; areas adjacent to kettles, vats, mixers, et al. Where equipment failure releases gas or vapor and damages electrical equipment simultaneously.

Class III Flyinqs No group assigned: Typical materials are cotton, kapok, nylon, flax, wood chipsnormally not in air suspension. _

Division 1 Cloud of flammable concentraAreas where cotton, spanish moss, tion exists frequently, period- hemp, et al. are manufactured or ically, or intermittently-as processed. near processing equipment. Any location where conducting dust may accumulate.

Division 2


Areas adjacent to a Div. 1 area. Pits, sumps containing piping et al., in nonhazardous location. Areas where flammable liquids are stored or processed in completely closed piping or containers. Div. I areas rendered nonhazardous by forced ventilation.

Failure of processing equipment may release cloud. Deposited dust layer on equipment, floor, or other horizontal surface.

Areas where materials are stored or handled.


8.4. Physical effects for use in transducers.

8.4.1. Introduction. A viewpoint is that transducers operate in a three-dimensional matrix of the following types of energy: Chemical, Optical, Mechanical, Electrical, Thermal, Magnetic, Acoustic and Nuclear. It remains to find physical effects which can be used to construct transducers. Possible transducers are of three types: Self-generators such as the photovoltaic effect such as in photocells, piezo-electric effect such as in pressure transducers, accelerometers and ignition systems, electromagnetic induction such as in tachogenerators, etc. These generate a usable output. Modulators: Piezoresistive effect such as in strain-gauges, thermoresistive such as in resistance temperature transducers. Modifiers: Radiation change such as in optical encoders, displacement due to pressure, etc. 8.4.2. Conductivity measurement. Plant which uses water such as boilers or steam generators require that water quality be tightly monitored. Laboratory analyses of water samples are accurate, but tedious. Instrumentation is required to monitor feed water quality between lab samples. By measuring the electrical conductivity of water, the quality of the water can be inferred. Further applications: The condensate from condensing steam turbines can be re-used as feedwater, provided the condensate has not been contaminated by cooling tower water leaking in through the condenser tubes. This can be detected by conductivity. Continuously monitoring the electrical conductivity in demineralization plant, it can be determined when to regenerate the resin so that water with too high concentration of salts is not used as boiler feedwater. In this case resistance is modulated by ions in water. The electrical conductivity of water depends on the concentration of ions as well as the mobility of ions present in the water. The water to be analyzed is placed in a cell. The resistance of the liquid in the cell is given by: l 1 l R= = = A A G where G = conductance in Siemens, = specific resistivity, m = specific conductivity, Siemens/m, where Ohm-1 = Siemens, l = length, m and 81

A = cross-sectional area, m2. When constructing a cell, it is better to define a cell constant which can be calibrated with a standard solution, typically potassium chloride at 25C. C R = c , Cc =cell constant m-1.

At low ion concentrations the specific conductivity is given by: = i Ci S/m where Ci = concentration in kgmol/m3, i = mobility factor [Sm2/kgmol].

The specific conductivity of an electrolyte is temperature dependent: T = 25 (1 + (T 25)) S/m, where

T = specific conductivity at TC, 25 = specific conductivity at 25C, = 0.02 0,025 K-1 for salts and bases, = 0.01 0,016 K-1 for acids.
When measuring the resistance, direct current (DC) cannot be used due to electrolysis. Instead, alternating current is used, but electrode effects are still present, creating a circuit of the type shown in the figure.

Figure 48. Electrode effects. R1, R2 model electrolysis effects, R3 models resistance of the electrolyte, 82

C1, C2 model film capacitance in cell between ions and electrodes, of the order of 0,1 to 1,0 F/m2. When measuring conductivity, meaningful results can be obtained by compensating for temperature. Furthermore, in some applications conductivity measurements are interpreted in relation to laboratory analyses. 8.4.3. Resistive displacement transducers. The potentiometer has some form of slider over resistive material and can convert large displacements to resistance changes. The potentiometer does not use any exotic physical effects, but the resistive material and slider have exotic designs in order to withstand say 106 + operations without failure.

Figure 49. Potentiometer displacement transducer. A potentiometer designed for a linear characteristic is defined by:
Rx x = R xm R = total resistance in ohm, Rx = resistance from starting point to slider,


x = displacement, linear in m or angular, xm = maximum design displacement, linear in m or angular. When loaded with the input resistance of an amplifier, the relationship changes and is left as an exercise. 8.4.4. Hot resistance anemometer. The device is mainly used for measuring velocity fluctuations in gases. It also has many other applications, see later.

Figure 50. Hot-wire anemometer. At thermal equilibrium: Electrical power input = Thermal power removed by convection.

I 2 Rw = hA(Tw T f ) Watt, I = current, amp, Rw = resistance, ohm, Tw = temperature of resistance, K or C,


Tf = temperature of fluid, K or C, A = heat transfer area, m2, h = film coefficient of heat transfer, W/(m2K), by Kings law h = C 0 + C1 V , V = velocity in m/s. (Note: Do not confuse V in Volt en V in m/s). The resistance R is temperature dependent. This device can be operated in two configurations: Constant current which could rapidly lead to destructive overheating and has a slow response time. Constant resistance, which is effectively constant temperature, by using a feedback amplifier. It cannot destructively overheat and has a fast response time, 100-300x faster than the first method provided the feedback can handle the required current swings. Other applications: The heat transfer coefficient h depends on the gas provided the velocity is kept constant. This finds application in gas analysis instrumentation such as gas chromatographs. In chromatography the gas components in a mixture travel at different rates through a column packed with silica and alumina, amongst others, with the aid of a carrier gas. A variant is found in paramagnetic oxygen analyzers which is used in combustion instrumentation. Paramagnetic materials are weakly attracted by a magnet. Oxygen, which is paramagnetic, is attracted into magnetic field, but the oxygen heated by the wire is then less attracted. This creates a (feeble!) magnetic wind. The flow rate depends on the oxygen concentration. 8.4.5. Vortex-shedding flowmeters. These flowmeters can be used for a wide variety of liquids, vapours and gases, but is not suitable for fluids with particles. The theory is somewhat complicated, but will be presented in a simplified manner. The physical effect of vortex shedding can be observed as an everyday occurrence. A flag waving in the wind is caused by vortices peeling off the pole. A telephone lines makes a tone in the wind. Wind blowing around the corners of buildings making a howling noise. A fluid (liquid or gas) which flows past an obstruction, causes a low velocity near surfaces. In obstructions that are not streamlined, the low pressure behind the obstruction cause the boundary layer to wrap and cause vortices. The vortices are shed alternately from the sides of the blunt obstruction. By choosing the correct shape, the vortex shedding frequency is proportional to flow velocity over a large range. 85

In order to derive a model for the vortex flowmeter, a few terms from fluid mechanics are revisited: The Reynolds number Re =


, dimensionless,

v = flow velocity, m/s, d = characteristic dimension, m, details of which can be found in any treatise on fluid mechanics, = density of the fluid, kg/m3, = dynamic viscosity, Pas. The vortex-shedding frequency is stable for Re > 104 and is a function of the size of the obstruction. The Reynolds number is used for scaling the phenomena.
fd , dimensionless, v f = vortex-shedding frequency, Hz or s-1, d = characteristic dimension, m, v = upstream velocity, m/s.

The Strouhal number S =

Figure 51. Vortex street downstream of obstruction. In the case of flowmeters, the blunt obstruction is designed for maximum vortex strength. Note that the vortex street, named after Von Karmann, can have large effects some distance from the origin. The alternating peeling off of vortices can generate quite large forces and have caused failure of towers, smoke stacks, tubes in heat exchangers, etc. The Birkhoff model is derived here:


Figure 52. Birkhoff oscillator. The peeling off of vortices is viewed as an oscillating fish tail. In the Birkhoff model, the oscillator differential equation is given by: d 2 J 2 + K = 0 dt = angle, radians,
d J = 2 dl + d 0 kgm2, the moment of inertia as proposed by Birkhoff, 2 1 d d K = v 2 + d 0 4d = 2v 2 + d 0 d N/m, the spring constant. 2 2 2 From the oscillator equation, the frequency of oscillation is given by: K 0 = rad/s, J v f0 = 0 = Hz or s-1. 2 d 4l + d 0 2 The vortex-shedding frequency is proportional to velocity.


8.5. Exercises. 8.5.1. In the section on intrinsic safety it as stated that a certain minimum energy is required to ignite a combustible mixture. Do a search to find numerical values for some mixtures. 8.5.2. The Strouhal number is given as 0.35 over the operating range of a vortex-shedding flowmeter in a pipeline. It is used in a gas pipeline with 150 mm (inner diameter). Gas velocity is 50 m/s. Find the vortex shedding frequency.


References 1. [http://uhavax.hartford.edu/~biomed/gateway/StaticCharacteristics.html] 2. Joseph McGhee, Ian A. Henderson, Peter H. Sydenham. Sensor science essentials for instrumentation and measurement technology. Measurement 25 (1999) 89113. 3. Joseph McGhee, Ian A. Henderson, M. Jerzy Korczynski, Wlodzimierz Kulesza. The sensor effect tetrahedron: an extended transducer space. Measurement 24 (1998) 217236. 4. Bla G. Liptak, Kriszta Venczel. Process measurement instrument engineers handbook. 1982. Chilton book company. 5. Usher, M. J. Sensors and transducers. McMillan 1985.


Appendix A. Terms. Gauge pressure Is the amount of pressure relative to the prevailing atmospheric pressure, measured in Pascal (Pa). 1 Pa = 1 Newton/m2 = 1 N/m2. e.g. for example. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia. Grouping of energy forms in transducers Grouping energy forms as Chemical, Optical, Mechanical, Electrical, Thermal, Magnetic, Acoustic and Nuclear, which is expressed by the acronym COMETMAN, has some benefits over other methods of classifying , as pointed out by McGhee and others [24]. i.e. id est or, that is, Instrument, measuring. A device for ascertaining the magnitude of a of a quantity or condition presented to it. Measuring device Sensor. See transducer. Transducers convert physical energy into more useful physical energy with the modern aim of producing an electrical output which can be readily used in control systems, stored and displayed.


Appendix B. Basic electric circuit theory.

Resistance. Since we are dealing with resistive strain gauges, the theory of resistors will be briefly revisited. An electrical resistor is defined by Ohms law: v(t) = i(t) R Volt, where i(t) = current in Ampere, Amp or abbreviated A, R = resistance in Ohm or abbreviated .

Figure B.1. Conventions for a resistor. Capacitance. An electrical capacitor is defined by:
dv(t ) A, where dt v(t) = potential in Volt, V, i(t) = current in Ampere, Amp or abbreviated A, C = capacitance in Farad or abbreviated F. i (t ) = C


Figure B.2. Conventions for a capacitor. When v(t) is a sinusoidal time function, v(t) = Vpsin(t) V, then i(t) = VpCcos(t) A in the steady state. By a long winded derivation making use of the Laplace transform, the so-called j notation, where j2 = -1, can be formally obtained. However, this is outside the scope of discussion on transducers. Although it makes use of complex numbers, the results are quite useful, although not crucial to understand capacitive transducers:

Figure B.3. Impedance. Note that capital letters are now used for V and I. The impedance now also becomes a complex number, in the case of the capacitor 1 ZC = by considering the equations as derived above. Historically the impedance of a capacitor has been called (capacitive) j C reactance. Using this concept, electric circuits in steady state sinusoidal operation can be solved using equations similar to that for DC resistive circuits, but using complex numbers. 92

V V A, where the angle sign indicates that the current is leading the voltage. Thus = = V C j = V C 2 1 ZC j C if v(t) = Vpsin(t), the i(t) = VpCsin(t+/2). Note that in power circuits voltage and current are specified not as the amplitude or values of the sinusoids, but as effective values where Veff = Vp/2 and Ieff = Ip/2.

Thus for the capacitor, I =

( )

Inductance. An electrical inductor is defined by:

di (t ) A, where dt v(t) = potential in Volt, V, i(t) = current in Ampere, Amp or abbreviated A, L = inductance in Henry or abbreviated H. v(t ) = L

Figure B.4. Conventions for an inductor. When i(t) is a sinusoidal time function, i(t) = Ipsin(t) A, then v(t) = IpLcos(t) A in the steady state. Make use j notation, where j2 = -1:


Figure B.5. Impedance. Note that capital letters are now used for V and I. The impedance now also becomes a complex number, in the case of the capacitor Z C = jL by considering the equations as derived above. Historically the impedance of an inductor has been called (inductive) reactance. Using this concept, electric circuits in steady state sinusoidal operation can be solved using equations similar to that for DC resistive circuits, but using complex numbers.
V V V A, where the angle sign indicates that the current is lagging the voltage. Thus if v(t) = = = 2 ZL j L L Vpsin(t), the i(t) = Vp/(L)sin(t-/2). As before, note that in power circuits voltage and current are specified not as the amplitude or values of the sinusoids, but as effective values where Veff = Vp/2 and Ieff = Ip/2.

Thus for the inductor, I =