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System and method for determining velocity of electrically conductive fluid

A flowing electrically-conductive fluid is controlled between an upstream and downstream location thereof to insure that a convection timescale of the flowing fluid is less than a thermal diffusion timescale of the flowing fluid. First and second nodes of a current-carrying circuit are coupled to the fluid at the upstream location. A current pulse is applied to the current-carrying circuit so that the current pulse travels through the flowing fluid to thereby generate a thermal feature therein at the upstream location. The thermal feature is convected to the downstream location where it is monitored to detect a peak associated with the thermal feature so-convected. The velocity of the fluid flow is determined using a time-of-flight analysis.
Inventors: 

Kurt A. Polzin

Thomas E. Markusic

Valentin Korman

Boris Johann Stanojev

Patent Number: 
US7409875
Patent Issue Date: 
September 12, 2008
Agency
NASA
Region
Southeast
State: 
Alabama
Phone: 
256-544-9151
Email: 
terry.taylor@nasa.gov
Lab Representatives
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