Developing technology for positive displacement flowmeters capable of measuring flow rates below 0.003litres per hour for water - the most challenging substance for this type of flowmeter to measure
Litre Meter, which designs and manufactures custom flowmeters, has entered into a research programme with Cambridge University's department of engineering to develop technology for positive displacement flowmeters capable of measuring flow rates below 0.003litres per hour for water - the most challenging substance for this type of flowmeter to measure.
Litre Meter's VFF positive displacement flowmeter is already capable of measuring down to 0.03litres per hour at 2cSt.
The objective of the research is to understand the detailed behaviour of the instrument to increase further its dynamic operation.
"We regularly receive requests from across industry to measure lower and lower flow rates," said Charles Wemyss, chairman at Litre Meter.
"In the offshore industry, for example, many oil wells are now less productive.
"Oil is being extracted at a much slower rate and consequently smaller quantities of chemical additives are needed during refining.
"These need to be measured accurately at low flow rates.
"Similarly across other industries there is a drive to increase the concentration of many chemical substances so companies can transport less cargo and reduce their costs.
"This higher chemical concentration means that less is needed to do a job.
"The knock on effect is the need to measure much smaller amounts.
"These trends we believe will continue, which is why we have embarked on this research programme.
"We are developing the technology to ensure that we can continue to meet the flow measurement needs of our customers in the future".
The research programme has been commissioned as part of an Industrial Case Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, EPSRC.
The three and a half year study, costing £60,000, will seek to understand more about the underlying physics behind the rotary piston flowmeter and how it behaves in low flow applications.
Charlotte Morton, a PhD student at Cambridge University, will be undertaking the research.
It will initially involve creating a software model of the flowmeter's behaviour, which will then be verified through experiments.
Factors such as weight of internal components, materials used and surface finish, can all have an affect on a flowmeter's ability to operate in low flow conditions.
The research will seek to understand the best combination of these.
The research programme is being overseen by Roger Baker, visiting industrial fellow at Cambridge University.
Baker's past experience includes setting up and leading the department of fluid engineering and instrumentation at Cranfield.