Available Technology

Measurement system and method

System and methods are disclosed for fluid measurements which may be utilized to determine mass flow rates such as instantaneous mass flow of a fluid stream. In a preferred embodiment, the present invention may be utilized to compare an input mass flow to an output mass flow of a drilling fluid circulation stream. In one embodiment, a fluid flow rate is determined by utilizing a microwave detector in combination with an acoustic sensor. The acoustic signal is utilized to eliminate 2pi phase ambiguities in a reflected microwave signal. In another embodiment, a fluid flow rate may be determined by detecting a phase shift of an acoustic signal across two different predetermined transmission paths. A fluid density may be determined by detecting a calibrated phase shift of an acoustic signal through the fluid. In another embodiment, a second acoustic signal may be transmitted through the fluid to define a particular 2pi phase range which defines the phase shift. The present invention may comprise multiple transmitters/receivers operating at different frequencies to measure instantaneous fuel levels of cryogenic fuels within containers positioned in zero or near zero gravity environments. In one embodiment, a moveable flexible collar of transmitter/receivers may be utilized to determine inhomogenuities within solid rocket fuel tubes.
Inventors: 

Phong H. Ngo

Kent A. Byerly

G. Dickey Arndt

James R. Carl

Patent Number: 
US6650280
Patent Issue Date: 
December 18, 2003
Lab Representatives
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