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1. (WO1980002593) METHODE ET APPAREIL DE DETERMINATION DE LA DENSITE D"UN LIQUIDE DE TRAITEMENT
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

A method and apparatus for determining' the density of a process liquid .

The present invention relates to a method of determining' the density of a process liquid and comprising' arranging a pair of vertically spaced pressure sensors in pressure transmitting contact with said process liquid, and establishing pressure transmitting communication between each of said pressure sensors and a common differential pressure measuring device via a pressure transmitting conduit or passage filled with a reference liquid.

In connection with for example fermentation processes in which the changes in density of the fermenting liquid indicate how the fermentation process proceeds , it may be desirable to be able to determine the density of the liquid continuously or at certain time intervals . It is known to determine the density of such a process liquid by means of two pressure sensors , which are immersed in the liquid and positioned with a vertical spacing. These pressure sensors have form of liquid-filled chambers , each having a chamber wall formed as a moveable diaphragm or membrane. Both of these pressure sensor chambers are connected to a differential pressure gauge in the form of a capacitive transducer by means of pressure transmitting conduits . The pressure sensor chamber as well as the pressure transmitting conduits are filled with a pressure
transmitting reference liquid, and, consequently, the pressure differential gauge is adapted to measure the differential pressure between the said pressure sensors . Such a method is described in the Danish periodical "Brygmesteren" No . 7, 1975, page 155-167 in an article entitled "Continuous Measurement of Wort/Beer Extract in a Fermentor" by N. C . Møller, M. Sc .

The pressure difference Δp, which is determined by the differential pressure gauge, may be expressed in the following equation :

Δp = H x g x 'C u - po) ( 1)

wherein H is the vertical distance between the pressure sensors, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and p and p are the densities of the process liquid and reference liquid, respectively . The above equation can be rewritten as follows :

Δp
u " ΪSg + o (2)

In setting up the above equations it has been presupposed not only that the density is the same for all parts of the process liquid located between the pressure sensors , but also that the density is the same for all parts of the reference liquid within the pressure sensor chamber and in the pressure transmitting conduits , which involves that during measurements it should be tried to maintain substantially the same temperature for all parts of the reference liquid. Therefore , the pressure sensors as well as the differential pressure gauge are placed in the same unit which is positioned so as to be surrounded by the process liquid and so as to be in heat-conductive contact therewith . From the above equation (1) it appears that in case a liquid having substantially the same thermal coefficient of expansion as the process liquid, is used as reference liquid, the differential pressure measured by the differential pressure gauge is practically temperature independent, because the value p - p will not change substantially with varying
temperature .

As indicated above, in the known methods of the above type a temperature variation of the total measuring system, including the differential pressure gauge, corresponding to the temperature variation of the process liquid is aimed at. However, these
temperature variations of the differential pressure gauge may give rise to errors in measurement. Thus, the differential pressure gauge being a pressure transducer normally comprises an elastic element in the form of a diaphragm or a spring having a module of elasticity which is dependent on temperature. This fact may to some extent be counteracted by using a material, such as quartz, having a modulus of elasticity with a particularly small coefficient of
temperature. However, for other reasons quartz is less suited, namely because it is difficult to machine and has a low ultimate stress . Furthermore, the differential pressure gauge is necessarily 2
made from different kinds of materials , such as metals , insulating materials , and liquids . In case of temperature changes , the
different thermal expansion coefficients of these materials will give rise to changes of the geometric relations and cause mechanical stresses , which influence the measuring results indicated by the differential pressure gauge or pressure transducer. Normally, the differential pressure gauge has the form of a capacitive transducer with capacitive electrodes including a liquid therebetween. A further possibility of error in measurement results from the fact that the dielectric constant of a liquid is dependent on the temperature.

For the above reasons, the known measuring methods of the type described above give rise to serious problems because the zero point and/or sensitivity of the differential pressure gauge changes with varying temperature, and this is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to compensate for. As mentioned above, in using the known method it has been assumed that the total measuring system, including the differential pressure gauge, has a
temperature which substantially corresponds to the temperature of the process liquid. However, because the mass of the differential pressure gauge is relatively big, this assumption does not proove correct in practice, when the temperature of the process liquid changes at a certain rate. This fact may also give rise to error in measurement.

The present invention provides an improved method of the above type, by means of which errors of measurement associated with the known method described above may at least to some extent be
eliminated.

The method according to the invention is characterized in
maintaining said differential pressure measuring device and possibly also adjacent parts of said pressure transmitting passages at a substantially constant temperature, maintaining the parts of said pressure transmitting passage - adjacent to said pressure sensors at a temperature substantially corresponding to that of the process hquid and positioning the intervening parts of said pressure
transmitting passages in which the temperature of the reference

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As the differential pressure measuring device or gauge is
maintained at a substantially constant temperature despite possible variations of temperature of the process Hquid, the errors in measurement resulting from variations in temperature of the differential pressure gauge as explained above, are completely avoided. The reference hquid which is located within the differentia pressure measuring device or gauge and in the parts of the pressur transmitting conduits immediately adjacent thereto will assume the substantially constant temperature of the differential pressure gauge while reference hquid located in the parts of the -pressure
transmitting conduits adjacent to the pressure sensors will assume a temperature which is substantially the same as the temperature of the process hquid. In the intervening parts of the pressure transmitting conduits the reference hquid will assume temperatures varying from the substantially constant temperature of the
differential pressure gauge, to the actual, but variable temperature of a process hquid. According to the invention the parts of the pressure transmitting conduits in which the reference hquid assumes a temperature which deviates from the temperature of the process hquid as well as from said' constant temperature of the differential pressure gauge, are positioned symmetrically about a horizontal line and with a small vertical extension so that the varying densities of the reference hquid in the said intervening parts of the pressure transmitting conduits do not substantially influence the measuring results of the differential pressure gauge.

The said intervening parts of the pressure transmitting conduits which may be curved or rectilinear, may extend obliquely . In that case, the said conduit parts may be positioned at opposite sides of that symmetry axis or line or extend in crossing relationship, or the intervening conduit parts may extend horizontally on opposite

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sides of the symmetry axis . However, if the said intervening
conduit parts have a certain vertical extension or projection, this will give rise to a certain error in measurement. However, provided that this vertical extension is small compared with the vertical
spacing of the pressure sensors , for example in the order of 5% of the vertical distance between the pressure sensors , such error in measurement will not be of any importance in connection with
normally occurring temperature intervals . If , for some reason, it is desired to position the horizontal parts of the pressure transmitting conduits with a vertical spacing or extension, it should be
considered whether the error in measurement introduced thereby
is acceptable . However, normally it is preferred to avoid this said error in measurement by arranging the said intervening parts of
the pressure transmitting passages, substantially in the same
horizontal plane .

The differential pressure measuring device or gauge is preferably maintained at the desired constant temperature by thermostatically controlled heating of the said device to a temperature slightly
exceeding the expected maximum temperature of the process hquid, and by placing the parts of the pressure transmitting conduits
being adjacent to the said pressure sensors in good heat-conducting contact with the process hquid. The heated differential
pressure gauge is advantageously heat insulated from the
surroundings and, therefore, heat from the differential pressure
gauge will mainly be transferred to the reference hquid in the
pressure transmitting conduits through the reference hquid column contained in the conduits and through the conduit walls . Because the parts of the pressure transmitting conduits adjacent to the
pressure sensors are in good heat conducting contact with the
process hquid, the temperature of the reference hquid will differ from that of the process hquid only in a rather short intervening conduit length. Consequently, the said intervening parts of the
conduits may be made relatively short, especially when the inter-vening - eon duit -parts are -made from a material having a relatively poor heat conductivity .

The present invention also relates to a measuring apparatus for

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use in carrying out the method described above, said apparatus comprising a pair of mutually spaced pressure sensors each connected to a common differential pressure measuring device by means of a pressure transmitting conduit or passage filled with a reference hquid, and the apparatus according to the invention is
characterized in that said differential pressure measuring device is provided with thermostatically controlled means for maintaining the temperature of said measuring device and possibly also of adjacent parts of said pressure transmitting conduit at a substantially constant value, that the parts of the pressure transmitting conduits or passages adjacent to said pressure sensors are adapted to be positioned in heat conducting contact with the process hquid, and that the intervening parts of said pressure transmitting passages or conduits are adapted to be arranged symmetrically about a horizontal line when said pressure sensors are positioned with a vertical spacing, so that the maximum vertical spacing of said symmetrically arranged vertical parts is small compared to the said vertical spacing of the pressure sensors .

The invention will now be further described with reference to the drawings, wherein
Fig. 1 diagrammatically illustrates the principles of a known measuring apparatus ,
Fig. 2 diagrammatically illustrates the principles of a measuring apparatus according to the invention,
Fig. 3 is a side view of a first embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention,
Fig. 4 is a sectional view along the line B-B in Fig. 3,
Fig. 5 a sectional view along the line A- A in Fig. 3,
Fig. 6 is a diagrammatic sectional view in an enlarged scale of a pressure transducer which may be used in connection with the measuring apparatus according to the invention,
Fig. 7 an end view and partially sectional view of a second embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention,
Fig. 8 a section along the line C-C in Fig. 7,
Fig. 9 is a detail of the apparatus shown in Figs . 7 and 8,
Figs . 10 and 11 illustrate different ways of mounting an apparatus of the type shown in Figs . 7 and 8 in a container waU, and Fig. 12 diagrammatically illustrates a further embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention.

Fig. 1 illustrates diagrammatically a known apparatus for
determining the density of a hquid. The apparatus comprises a pair of pressure sensors 10 arranged with a mutual vertical spacing H, and these pressure sensors are formed as chambers which are compressible because their front walls are formed as moveable membranes or diaphragms . The two pressure sensors may be mounted on a common mounting plate 11, and each of the pressure sensor chambers 10 is connected to a differential pressure gauge 13 by means of a pressure transmitting passage or conduit 12. The differential pressure gauge may, for example, have the form of a capacitive pressure transducer of a type which will be described more in detail below with reference to Fig. 6. The pressure sensor chambers 10, the pressure transmitting conduits 12, and hquid chambers 14 defined in the differential pressure gauge 13 are totally filled with a reference hquid.

When the apparatus illustrated in Fig. 1 is immersed into or is in pressure transmitting contact with a process hquid, the density p of which is to be measured, this density may be determined from the above equation, when the differential pressure Δp has been determined by means of the differential pressure gauge 13. By using such known apparatuses it is attempted to obtain that the reference hquid in the conduits 12 as well as in the differential pressure gauge 13 assumes a temperature which at any time is substantially identical to the actual temperature of the process hquid which may change. As mentioned above, the hquid used as reference hquid should, preferably have a thermal coefficient of expansion which is substantially the same as that of the process hquid. The reference hquid may, for example, be "water when the process hquid is an aqueous solution. In connection with the known apparatus described the temperature variations of the differential pressure -gauge 13 give rise to substantial errors in measurement as mentioned above.

The embodiment of the measuring apparatus according to the invention shown in Fig. 2 differs from the known measuring apparatus shown in Fig. 1 thereby that the differential pressure measuring device or gauge 13 is arranged in a heat insulated housing 15 in which the temperature is thermostatically controlled, and that each of the pressure transmitting conduits 12 are divided into a horizontally arranged part 16 adjacent to the pressure differential gauge 13 and a succeeding non-horizontal part 17. The horizontal part 16 may be arranged at somewhat different levels , but they are preferably arranged at substantiahy the same level or in the same horizontal plane, as shown on the drawings . The heat insulated differential pressure gauge 13 may, for example, be maintained at a constant temperature somewhat exceeding (for example about 5 ) the maximum temperature of the process hquid, the density of which is to be measured. Heating of the gauge 13 to the said temperature may, for example, take place by means of a thermostatically controlled heating device (not shown) , for example a power transistor. The non -horizontal parts 17 of the pressure transmitting conduit 12 are arranged in good heat conductive contact with the surrounding process hquid. As the ends of the horizontal conduit parts 16, which are connected to the differential pressure gauge 13, are heated to a temperature above the
temperature of the process hquid, the temperature of the reference hquid contained in the horizontal conduit parts 16 will vary between the temperature of the differential pressure gauge 13 and the temperature of the process hquid. The horizontal conduit parts 16 may, however, have a length so as to secure that the
temperature of all of the reference hquid contained in the
non-horizontal conduit parts 17 is not influenced by the heating of the differential pressure gauge and therefore assumes a
temperature which is substantiahy the same as the temperature of the process hquid. As all of the reference hquid, which has a temperature (and consequently also a density) substantially differing from that of the process hquid, is contained in the horizontal conduit parts 16 and in the differential pressure gauge

13, i. e. concentrated about a horizontal plane, this variation in temperature and density will have no influence on the measuring result of the differential pressure gauge 13.
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"T The embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention shown in Figs . 3 - 5 is adapted to be bolted or otherwise fastened to the wall of a vessel or container 18, for example the wall of a fermentation container in which it is decided to survey the fermentation 5 process by measuring the density of the fermenting hquid. One
end of a cylindrical housing 19 is fastened to the mounting plate
11 at the side thereof which is opposite to that of which the
pressure sensors 10 are mounted. The other end of the housing 19 is provided with a flange 20 which may be fastened to the container

10 wah 18, for example by means of screws or bolts 21 and an annular gasket or a sealing ring 22 as shown in Fig. 4. The differential
pressure gauge 13, which is . surrounded by a heat insulating
material 23, is positioned within the cylindrical housing 19, and,
as best shown in Fig. 5 , the horizontal part 16 of each of the

15 pressure transmitting conduits 12 is U-shaped and arranged in
heat conducting contact with the mounting plate 11 and the
cylindrical wall of the housing 19 along a substantial part of its
length .

20. Fig. 6 diagrammatically shows a capacitive pressure transducer of
a type which may advantageously be used in connection with a
measuring apparatus according to the invention. The housing 15 of the pressure transducer is surrounded by the heat insulation 23
and may be heated by means of a thermostatically controlled
25 " heating device 25 which may, for example, be in the form of a
power transistor. The hquid chambers 14, which are connected to
the horizontal parts 16 of the pressure transmitting conduits 12
have inner walls in the form of pressure transmitting membranes or diaphragms 26 which are interconnected by means of a connecting

30 rod 27 extending through openings in a pair of mutually spaced,
fixed capacitor plates 28. The connecting rod 27 is also connected
to a resihent, moveable capacitor plate 29 which is arranged
between the fixed capacitor plates . The space defined between the diaphrams or membranes 26 is filled with a substantiahy
35 .incompressible hquid, which is not - electrically conductive, for
example sihcone oil. The fixed capacitor plates 28 and the moveable capacitor plate 29 are connected to an electronic circuit 30 having
terminals 31 and being adapted to be connected to a current supply and a pointer instrument 32 or another device for indicating and/or recording the measuring result.

A difference in pressure in the reference hquid contained in the chambers 14 will cause a displacement of the diaphragms 26 and, consequently, also of the moveable capacity plates 29, whereby the capacitance of each of the capacitors formed by the moveable capacitor plates and the respective fixed capacitor plates are changed. The electronic circuit 30 is adapted to compare these capacitances and, on the basis thereof, to generate a signal which is supphed to the pointer instrument 32 which will then indicate a value for the density of the process hquid.

Figs .. 7 to 9 illustrate the presently preferred embodiment of the measuring apparatus according to the invention and comprising a cylindrical housing, preferably made from metal, and having a circular end wah 34 on the outside of which the pressure sensors 10 are mounted. The differential pressure gauge or transducer 13 is mounted in the housing 33 and thermally insulated therefrom by means of heat-insulating spacer members 35 which may, for example, be made from neoprene. The space defined between the cylindrical housing 33 and the differential pressure gauge 13 is filled with a heat- insulating material 23, preferably foamed plastic. A metal block 36 which is preferably made from copper, or another metal with good heat conductivity, is mounted on the outer surface of the metal housing 15 of the transducer 13 which is thermos tatically controhed" by means of the heating device 25 in the form of a power transistor, and a temperature sensor or thermistor 37, which are also arranged in heat conductive contact with the housing, as shown in Fig. 7. Pressure transmitting conduit parts 38 connects each of the hquid chambers 14 in the transducer with a bore in the metal block 36, and these conduit parts comprise a filling device 39 which is shown more in detail in Fig. 9. The' filling device comprises a body member with a Y-shaped bore, the branches of which
sealingly receive and interconnect the conduit parts 38, and the stem of the Y-shaped bore is threaded and closed by a
corresponding screw 41, the head of which cooperates with a sealing O-ring 42. These filling devices may be used for evacuating

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Each of the pressure sensors 10 is connected to one of the bores in the metal block 36 and, consequently, with a respective conduit part 38, by means of a non-horizontal conduit part 17 and a horizontal conduit part 16. Each of the non- horizontal conduit parts 17 extends through and is in heat transmitting contact with a number of metal blocks 43, which are preferably made from copper or another material with good heat conductivity and fastened to the inner side of the housing end wah 34. The horizontal conduit part 16 extends between the metal block 36 and the adjacent metal block 43 mounted on the end wah 34. The conduit parts 17 and 38 are preferably made from copper or another material having good heat conductive properties , while the horizontal conduit part 17 is advantageously made from a material, such as stainless steel, the heat conductivity of which is poor.

The electrical circuit 30 associated with the transducer 13 comprises a pair of plates including printed circuits and various electronic components . One of these plates is mounted on the end wah of the housing 15, while the other plate is mounted on a heat insulating hd member 44, and the circuits of the plates are interconnected by means of electrical conductors 45, while the inner plate is connected to the transducer by conductors 46. The cylindrical housing 33 is closed by means of a releasable cover or hd 47. A bore 48 extending through the housing 33, as indicated in Fig. 8 by dotted lines , permits insertion of a thermometer into the housing so that the thermometer bulb comes into contact with a cover block 49 mounted on the housing end wall 34 so that the temperature of the process hquid may be measured. A tube length 50 closed at its free end communicates with the space 24 defined between the diaphragms 26 of the transducer and permits filling of that space with a hquid. A tube stub 51 extending from the end wall of the cylindrical housing 33 opposite to the pressure 'sensors

10 is communicating with a hquid spraying or flushing device 52 which is arranged between the pressure sensors 10, as best shown in Figs . 10 and 11. This spraying device permits flushing and rinsing of the hquid sensors 10 when the measuring apparatus is mounted in a container, as shown in Figs . 10 and 11 , and process hquid has been removed therefrom .

The conduit parts 38 which extend between the thermostatically controhed transducer housing 15 and the block 36 mounted in heat

conductive contact with that housing will assume substantiahy the same temperature as the housing 15, and the non-horizontal conduit parts 17 extending between the metal blocks 43 which are mounted on and in good heat conductive contact with the housing end wah 34 will assume a temperature which is substantiahy the same as that of said end wah. When the housing 33 is mounted in a vessel or container containing a process hquid, as shown in Figs . 10 and 11 , the end wah 34 will be in contact with the process hquid and assume the temperature of that hquid.
Consequently, the temperature of the non-horizontal conduit parts 17 and of the reference hquid contained therein will be
substantiahy the same as the temperature of the process hquid. The horizontal conduit parts 16 extend between the metal blocks 36 and 43 which have different temperatures . Consequently, the temperature of the conduit parts 16 and of the reference hquid contained therein will vary along the length thereof . When the conduit parts 16 are made from a material having poor heat conductive properties they may have a rather short length, for example 25 mm.

As shown in Fig. 10 the housing 33 may be mounted on the inner side of a container wah 18 by means of screws 53 extending through the container wah and into threaded bores formed in the housing

33. Alternatively, as shown in Fig. 11 the housing 33 may be provided with an annular flange 54 by means of which the housing may be mounted in an opening in the container wah 18 so that the housing end wah 34 win be substantially flush with the inner side of the container wall 18.

Fig. 12 illustrates diagrammatically a less preferred embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention, where the horizontal

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The increased accuracy in measurement which may be obtained by using the method and apparatus according to the invention renders it possible to arrange the pressure sensors 10 with a mutual vertical spacing which is substantiahy smaller than in the known apparatuses of the present type . Thus , it has been found, that by using the method and apparatus according to the invention it is possible to reduce the vertical spacing of the- pressure sensors to about 120 mm.