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1. WO2017138918 - METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MODULATING A FLOWPATH

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What is Claimed is:

1. A flowmeter (5) having a sensor assembly (10) connected to meter electronics (20), wherein the sensor assembly (10) comprises at least one driver (104) and at least one pickoff (105), comprising:

a variably modulated conduit (300) configured to change a flow area (304) therein.

2. The flowmeter (5) of claim 1, wherein the flow area (304) is adjustable to maintain a desired fluid velocity of fluid flowing therein.

3. The flowmeter (5) of claim 2, wherein the fluid velocity is maintained at a rate that maintains a desired delta t.

4. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 3, comprising:

a first pressure sensor for measuring a first fluid pressure in the sensor assembly

(10);

a second pressure sensor for measuring a second fluid pressure in the sensor assembly (10); and

wherein the flow area (304) is adjustable to maintain a desired differential pressure between the first and second pressure sensors.

5. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 4, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises a fluid- actuated bladder (302) disposed in the flow area (304), wherein the fluid- actuated bladder (302) comprises an adjustable cross-sectional area.

6. The flowmeter (5) of claim 5, comprising at least one support (308) configured to suspend the bladder (302) within the conduit (103).

7. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 4, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises a plurality of fluid-actuated bladders (402) disposed in the flow area

(304), wherein the plurality of fluid-actuated bladders (402) are configured to adjust in size to displace fluid flow within the flow area (304).

8. The flowmeter (5) of claim 7, wherein the plurality of fluid-actuated bladders (402) are disposed approximately equidistantly along an inner diameter (408) of the conduit (103).

9. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 4, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises a coiled bladder (802) disposed in the flow area (304), wherein the coiled bladder (802) comprises an adjustable cross-sectional area.

10. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1, 5, 7, or 9, wherein the fluid-actuated bladder (302), plurality of fluid- actuated bladders (402), or coiled bladder (802) comprises a compliant material configured to expand and contract.

11. The flowmeter (5) of claim 1, 5, 7, or 9, wherein the fluid-actuated bladder (302), plurality of fluid- actuated bladders (402), or coiled bladder (802) receives a fluid in a space (306) therein.

12. The flowmeter (5) of claim 9, comprising a resilient inner membrane (806) disposed inside the coils of the coiled bladder (802) and defining the flow area (304).

13. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 4, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises a plurality of leaves (502) slidingly engaged to each other to form an adjustable flow area (304).

14. The flowmeter (5) of claim 13, wherein an expandable membrane (506, 508) is disposed proximate the plurality of leaves (502) to provide a fluid-tight seal.

15. The flowmeter (5) of claim 13, wherein the plurality of leaves (502) is actuatable with a clamp member (512) to adjust the diameter of the plurality of leaves (502).

16. The flowmeter (5) of claims 1 through 4, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises:

a stretchable membrane (602) comprising a helically woven net of fibers (604), wherein the helically woven net of fibers (604) defines the flow area (304).

17. The flowmeter (5) of claim 16, wherein the woven net of fibers (604) is actuatable to adjust the diameter of the flow area (304).

18. The flowmeter (5) of claim 4, comprising a static pressure conduit (902) disposed in the variably modulated conduit (300), wherein the static pressure conduit (902) comprises a first end open to the fluid, and a second end sealed to itself, configured to allow a static pressure to be measured therein and a pressure differential (ΔΡ) generally to be measured between the static pressure conduit (902) and the flow area (304).

19. The flowmeter (5) of claim 18, wherein the static pressure conduit (902) comprises a compliant material that may deform as a pressure therein increases.

20. The flowmeter (5) of claim 18, wherein the variably modulated conduit (300) comprises a plurality of conduit walls (910) pivotable about a plurality of hinged joints (908), and wherein the static pressure conduit (902) is configured to contact the plurality of conduit walls (910) and modulate the flow area (304) by pivoting the plurality of conduit walls (910) about the plurality of hinged joints (908).

21. The flowmeter (5) of claim 18, wherein the static pressure conduit (902) is configured to increase in size until a static pressure therein and a dynamic pressure in the flow area (304) reaches equilibrium.

22. A method of adjusting flow through a flowmeter conduit comprising the steps of: providing a sensor assembly; and

providing a variably modulated conduit in the sensor assembly configured to change a flow area therein and being adjustable to maintain a desired fluid velocity of fluid flowing therein.

23. The method of claim 22, comprising the step of maintaining a fluid velocity at a rate that maintains a desired delta t.

24. The method of claim 22, comprising the steps of:

measuring a first fluid pressure in the sensor assembly;

measuring a second fluid pressure in the sensor assembly; and

adjusting flow area to maintain a desired differential pressure between the first and second fluid pressures.

25. The method of claim 22, comprising the step of actuating at least one fluid-actuated bladder disposed in the flow area, wherein the at least one fluid-actuated bladder comprises an adjustable cross-sectional area.

26. The method of claim 22, comprising the step of actuating at least one of a plurality of leaves disposed in the flow area to slidingly engage upon each other so to define an adjustable cross-sectional area.

27. The method of claim 22, comprising the steps of:

providing a static pressure conduit disposed in the variably modulated conduit, comprising a first end open to the fluid, and a second end sealed to itself; measuring a static pressure in the static pressure conduit;

measuring a dynamic pressure in the flow area; and

calculating a pressure differential (ΔΡ) between the static pressure conduit and the flow area.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the static pressure conduit comprises a compliant material that may deform as a pressure therein increases.

29. The method of claim 28, comprising the steps of:

providing a plurality of conduit walls pivotable about a plurality of hinged joints; and

modulating the flow area by pivoting the plurality of conduit walls about the plurality of hinged joints.

30. The method of claim 28, comprising the steps of:

placing the plurality of conduit walls in contact with the static pressure conduit; adjusting a size of the static pressure conduit due to a static pressure therein; and ceasing to adjust the size of the static pressure conduit when an equilibrium between a dynamic pressure in the flow area and a static pressure in the static pressure conduit is reached.

31. The method of claim 22, comprising the steps of:

determining the flow area of the variably modulated conduit; and

determining a flow rate of fluid flowing through the variably modulated conduit.