Flow Meter for Pneumatic Conveying of Bulk Solids


Model of a prototype sensor

For years, the tendency to improve both efficiency and safety in industrial processes can be observed. Therefore it is necessary to make these processes observable and measurable. One example of an industrial process, where the determination of crucial process parameters can not be achieved satisfactory so far, is pneumatic conveying of bulk solids. Bulk solids are transported through pipelines by means of gas-solid two-phase flows in a variety of applications and industries (e.g. pharmaceutical-, food-, agriculture-, and construction industry). One is basically interested in a reliable estimation of material mass flow, flow velocity and particle concentration in the piping system. The transport of coal dust to furnaces for efficient operation,fair billing for shipment of flour or fertilizer, improved quality in the production of concrete or pharmaceuticals, or time optimized transport operations may require such measurements.

Suitable measurement principles and measurement systems exist for the flow parameter determination in single-phase flows (e.g. pure water flow or pure gas flow through a pipe) and are well approved. Multi-phase flows, especially gas-solid flows, require more sophisticated sensors: The main problem is the abrasive behaviour of the solid particles that are conveyed with velocities of 30 m/s and higher for certain applications, causing wear and damaging the sensor quickly. An arrangement of a sensor device inside a conveyor pipe is hence not desired.

For more than five years we work on the development of flow meters for parameter estimation in gas-solid flows. During that time, several prototype sensors have been developed and tested under laboratory- as well as industrial conditions. We have a strong focus on capacitive flow meters using correlative and spatial filtering approaches. 


Photo of a prototype sensor

Students interested in

  • hardware development
  • modelling and optimisation
  • signal processing and algorithms, and
  • the execution of experiments

are encouraged to work with us in this field.


Contact: Markus Neumayer