Flow measurement is a critical process-control parameter in a wide range of applications such as engine control, power generation, industrial processes, and oil and gas production optimization. Often the environment is difficult. The sensor can be subjected to high electrical noise, explosive environments, relatively high temperature, and areas of difficult access. Fiber optic sensors have the ability to perform under these environmental conditions and to be the basis for several sensing approaches.
Six basic sensing concepts have been used for flow detection using fiber optics:
Rotational frequency monitoring of a paddle wheel or turbine in the flow field,
A cantilevered beam that bends in the flow path,
Differential pressure measurement across an orifice,
Frequency monitoring of a vortex-shedding device,
Laser Doppler velocimetry, and
Indirect flow monitoring.
These concepts will be discussed in terms of how they can be implemented with fiber optics.
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