Available Technology

Fiber optic liquid mass flow sensor and method

A method and apparatus are provided for sensing the mass flow rate of a fluid flowing through a pipe. A light beam containing plural individual wavelengths is projected from one side of the pipe across the width of the pipe so as to pass through the fluid under test. Fiber optic couplers located at least two positions on the opposite side of the pipe are used to detect the light beam. A determination is then made of the relative strengths of the light beam for each wavelength at the at least two positions and based at least in part on these relative strengths, the mass flow rate of the fluid is determined.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is offering opportunities for its new fiber optic mass flow sensor system. Capable of measuring multi-phase flows in a pipe, the technology is minimally invasive, cost effective, retrofittable, and compact. MSFCs new technology combines high accuracy, intrinsically safe operation, and low-cost flow sensing for virtually any optically transparent medium, providing a superior product for measuring multi-phase flows.

Provides void fraction and quality values through real-time flow rate measurement


Cryogenic liquid and fuel flow, handling, and storage measurements

Oil and gas industry multi-phase flows

Industrial, automotive, and aerospace multi-phase flows

Powder spray coatings

Food processing

Chemical processing, handling, and storage

Zero-gravity liquid tank level sensors


Don A. Gregory

Valentin Korman

John T. Wiley

Kevin W. Pedersen

Patent Number: 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Patent Status: 
Patent Issue Date: 
July 15, 2010
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