Available Technology

Fluid Flow Metering and Mixing Technologies

A widely applicable suite of technologies with optimized capabilities for fluid metering, mixing, and conditioning
The suite of innovations includes: a fluid-mixing plug with metering capabilities; an unbalanced-flow, fluid-mixing plug with metering capabilities; a flow meter plug with length-to-hole size uniformity; and an eddy-current-minimized flow plug for use in flow conditioning and flow metering. How it works: The innovations included in this technology suite are variations of the same base innovation, which typically consists of a fluid plate or plug of varying thickness. The device is simple to install and can be mounted between two flanges in a fluid-flow conduit, or it can be threaded or welded into the conduit. In some curved-pipe applications, the device can be integrated into a pipe fitting, bend, elbow, or tee. The face of the plug features several ports through which fluid flows. The orientation and position of these ports vary, depending on the needs of a specific application. The design balances fluid flow and kinetic energy across the plug face to create the desired flow effect. The device can smooth the fluid flow for superior conditioning, decrease turbulence for highly accurate metering, or increase turbulence to enhance fluid mixing. For example, discrete openings parallel to the fluid flow will decrease turbulence for accurate metering and conditioning. Other shapes of fluid openings can be introduced to change flow velocity or energy. The openings can also contain tapers and/or be directed along an unparallel path to the flow conduit to induce fluid mixing. In addition, the open flow area of the plug can be more heavily weighted on one side to amplify or offset the fluid effects around bends. Why it is better: The base for Marshall's suite of flow metering, mixing, and conditioning technologies is a unique innovation that offers improved performance in a wide range of applications. It is the only small, easy-to-install device of its kind that provides the ability to control turbulence, improve metering accuracy, or encourage thorough mixing. The innovation also facilitates rapid recovery of fluid pressure, helping to decrease power requirements and their associated costs.
Abstract: 
Innovators at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of prototype fluid plug technologies with an array of capabilities for fluid flow metering, mixing, and conditioning. Each innovation within this suite is based upon a core technology that has no moving parts, is simple to manufacture, and provides high reliability and efficiency. Also,the base fluid plug technology can be modified with very few or no hardware changes to achieve the desired effect or combination of mixing, metering, and conditioning capabilities depending on the application.
Benefits: 

Improved efficiency

applications: 

Chemical processing facilities

Manufacturing facilities

Industrial processing

Petro-chemical processing

Mechanical operations

Mining

Water analysis

Liquid rocket engines

Space propulsion

Variable orifice stream jets

Venturi applications

Flow conditioners

Near pipe bends, tees, elbows

Reps: 
Patent Number: 
8,132,961
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
MFS-TOPS-51
Patent Status: 
Patent Issue Date: 
August 31, 2015
Agency
NASA
Region
Southeast
State: 
Alabama
Phone: 
256-544-9151
Email: 
terry.taylor@nasa.gov
Lab Representatives
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