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Name of the faculty : D Saritha
Designation : Lecturer
Branch : D.A.E.I.E
Institute : Govt Polytechnic, Kothagudem
Year/Semester : IV Semester
Subject : Process Instrumentation –II
Sub-Code : AEI-405
Topic : Level Measurement
Duration : 100 min
Sub-Topic : Capacitive Type of Level Indicator
Teaching Aids : Diagrams
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Upon the completion of this topic you would be

able to know about
• Capacitive type of level Indicators

• Principle of operation

• Types of capacitive method

• Construction and working principle

• Advantages and disadvantages

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In last class we have discussed about

• Inductive type level transducer

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Capacitive type of level indicator

• This is an electrical method for measuring and

indicating liquid level in industries

• Types of Capacitive Methods

• Variable Area Method

• Capacitive Voltage Divider Method

• Variable Dielectric Constant Method

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The operation is based upon the familiar equation of a
parallel plate capacitor given by

C = ε A/D

Where , C = Capacitance , in farad

ε = Dielectric Constant

A = Area of plate, in m²

D = Distance between two plates, in m

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• Therefore, if A and D are constant, then the

capacitance is directly proportional to the dielectric

constant, and this principle is used in the capacitance

level indicators.

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Variable area method

• Used for measurement of levels of both solids and


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• The electrical conducting container holds the materials

• A metal rod completely covered by insulating material is

placed inside the container

• The metal rod and the container walls form the two plates
of the capacitor

• The insulating material forms acts as the dielectric


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• When the level of liquid in the tank rises the
capacitance varies linearly with the height of the
• The relationship between level of a liquid and the
capacitance is given by :
C = 2πεh/logе(d2/d1)
Where ε = permittivity of the insulator;F/m
h = height of the material ; m
d1 = diameter of the metal rod ; m
d2 = diameter of the insulator ; m
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• The increase or decrease of the capacitance is

measured and is displayed on the indicator calibrated
in terms of liquid level

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Capacitive voltage divider method

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• The liquid surface acts as one electrode for liquids
whose conductivity is high

• The other electrode is a fixed reference plate parallel to

the surface of the liquid

• An auxiliary electrode P1 is placed at a fixed distance

above the reference electrode P2.

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• The two electrodes P1 and P2 are electrically insulated

from each other

• An ac voltage is applied between the liquid and the

electrode P1

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• As the level of the liquid in the tank varies the

capacitance C2 varies i.e. C2 is inversely proportional to

the distance between the liquid surface and electrode P2

• The potential of electrode P2 with respect to earth

E0 = Ei C1/(C1+C2) Volts

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• The output voltage decreases with a rise of liquid level

• Therefore , a non-linear relationship exists between


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Variable dielectric constant method

• If the liquid is non-conducting it is used as a dielectric in

a capacitor

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• An insulated metal electrode firmly fixed near and

parallel to the metal wall of the tank

• The electrode and the tank wall form the plates of a

parallel plate capacitor

• The liquid in between them acts as the dielectric

material if the liquid is non-conductive

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• If the liquid is conductive in nature,

• The metal rod and the liquid form the plates of the


• The insulation between them is the dielectric medium

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• The capacitance of this capacitor depends upon the
height of the dielectric between the plates i,e the liquid
• As the level of the liquid increases the capacitance
• Thus, the capacitance is proportional to the height of
the liquid in the tank
• The capacitance thus measured is an indication of
liquid levels.
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• Useful in small system.

• Very sensitive
• Moving parts are not exposed to fluid
• Suitable for continuous indication and/or control
• Remote adjustment of span and zero is possible
• Good for use with slurries
• Probe materials for most corrosive fluids are available

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• Performance is severely affected by dirt and other

contaminants as they change the dielectric constant
• Changes in temperature affects the sensitivity
• Measured fluids must have proper dielectric strength
• Recalibration is required if measured materials changes
in composition or moisture content
• Probe length and mounting must suit the tank

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We have discussed about :

• Capacitance type of level indicator
• Variable area method

• Capacitance voltage divider method

• Variable dielectric constant method

• Advantages and disadvantages

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1. The performance of capacitance level indicator is

severely affected by dirt, because they change the

a) Area of plate

b) Distance between two plates

c) Dielectric constants

d) None of the above

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1. The variable area method of capacitive type level
indicator is used for measurement of level of

a) Only solids

b) Only liquids

c) Both solids and liquids

d) None of the above

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1. In capacitive voltage divider method of liquid level
measurement , with rise of level the output voltage

a) Decreases

b) Increases

c) Remains constant

d) None of the above

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Frequently asked questions
1. Explain the principle of a capacitance type of level

2. Explain the working of a variable area capacitance

type of level indicator with a neat sketch

3. Explain the working of a capacitive voltage divider type

of level indicator with a neat sketch

4. List the advantages & disadvantages of level

measurement using capacitance type of level indicator
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