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Oil Pipeline Design, Operation and Construction

Metering Instruments

7.2 Pressure Measurement


For a fluid at rest pressure can be defined as the force exerted perpendicularly by the fluid on a unit area of any bounding surface. It is basically a mechanical concept which can be fully described in terms of the primary dimensions of mass, Length and time. The whole of the pressure measurement is encompassed on the above definition and the following three observations: 1. The pressure is strongly influenced by position within a static fluid but, at a given position, it is quite independent of direction. (This fact has to be taken into account in manometry). 2. Pressure is unaffected by the shape of the confining boundaries. (Thus a great variety of fluid pressure transducers is available). 3. A pressure applied to a confined fluid via, a movable surface is transferred undiminished throughout the fluid to all bounding surfaces. (Principle employed in dead-weight testers). The zero gauge pressure corresponds to atmospheric pressure and is approximately 14.696 psi or 1 kg/cm2. The pressure can also be measured in terms of liquid columns which can be supported by them In terms of mercury column atmospheric pressure will be equal to 29.92 inches or 760 mm. In practice we may require to measure gauge which is the difference between the measured and atmospheric pressure or absolute pressure which is equal to the gauge pressure plus the atmospheric pressure or pressures below atmospheric, which is termed as, vacuum or draft. The vacuum or draft forms a very small portion of the total measurement range. The Bourdon, diaphragm and bellow are the common elements used in pressure measurements because of their flexibility for various purposes such as indicating, recording, controlling and operation of various protection devices. Manometric elements using water and mercury measuring liquid are also in use for measurements in lower ranges. There are a lot of types of pressure measuring instruments but not all of it in commonly and practically used in pipe line field. In the next section we are going to present some of the commonly used measuring instruments, one classic of type and two modern types. We introduce types of pressure measuring instruments that is going to be used in pump station and along the line to serve the SCADA system collecting data from monitor points by fiber optics, microwaves

John Samir Zaky

Mina Safwat Sobhy

Samir Fouad Nasif

Usama Boshra Habib

Oil Pipeline Design, Operation and Construction

Metering Instruments

and satellite communications technology and transmit it to control stations.

7.2.1 Mechanical Pressure Transducers


Bourdon Tube, The main feature of the Bourdon tubes is their large deflection. The bourdon tube consists of an elastic element (a small-volume tube of oval cross-section bent in a circular arc) fixed at one end which is open to accept the applied pressure, but free at the other end, which is closed to allow displacement under the deforming action of the pressure difference across the tube walls. When pressure is applied, the oval shaped tube tends to become circular, with a subsequent increase in the radius of the circular arc. The movement of the free end of the tube is transmitted to a sector through an adjustable connecting link. The sector is in mesh with pinion on which is fixed a pointer, which rotates over a calibrated scale to give a mechanical indication of the pressure. As the reference pressure in the case containing the bourdon tube is usually atmospheric, the pointer indicates gauge pressure. Bourdon tubes are susceptible to vibration and acceleration. Because of the simplicity and ruggedness, Bourdon tube is the most frequently used pressure gauge. It can be used for ranges from zero to 1 kg/cm2 (zero to 15 psig) to zero to 700 kg/cm2 (zero to 100,000 lb / square inch) On vacuum side measurements from zero to 760 mm (zero to 29.92 inches) are possible

Figure 7.2.1 Bourdon tube transducer

John Samir Zaky

Mina Safwat Sobhy

Samir Fouad Nasif

Usama Boshra Habib

Oil Pipeline Design, Operation and Construction

Metering Instruments

7.2.2 Passive Electrical Pressure Transducer


The various types of electro-mechanical transducers available work on the following principles: 1. Unbonded resistance 2. Bonded strain gauges with flat diaphragms 3. Other types Unbonded resistance elements, The unbonded resistance elements can be employed for determining the pressure by straining the resistance elements by pressure. The device employs a four-legged flexure linkage. Two resistance elements of very small diameter (about 0125 mm) are wound around the legged flexure. A diaphragm is placed at the top, centre of the device and its movement due to application of pressure is transmitted to flexure thereby stretching the resistance elements. These two active elements, along with two inactive elements wound around fixed posts are connected to form a conventional resistance bridge. This device can be used for absolute, differential or gauge pressure ranges from 0-0.1 to 0-35 kg/cm2 for temperature ranging from -65 to 300 C Bonded strain gauges with flat diaphragms, In this device strain gauges are applied directly to a diaphragm surface either at the centres on diametrically opposite faces or as shown in Figure 7.2.2. In both the arrangements one gauge is subjected to tension while the other gauge senses compression. The two gauges are used in adjacent bridge arms, thereby adding their individual outputs and simultaneously providing temperature compensation. It is generally found that the area for mounting the strain gauges is very small. Therefore, spiral grids have to be used, unfortunately whose performance is not satisfactory.

John Samir Zaky

Mina Safwat Sobhy

Samir Fouad Nasif

Usama Boshra Habib

Oil Pipeline Design, Operation and Construction

Metering Instruments

Figure 7.2.2 Bonded strain gauges with flat diaphragms Other types, One method utilizes the change of capacitance due to flexing of the diaphragms. Another method is based on electro-mechanical resonance principle. In this method, a fine wire under tension vibrates at its natural frequency and one end of it is connected to the centre of a pressure-sensing diaphragm, which varies the wire tension, depending on the applied pressure. The wire vibrates in a magnetic field provided by small permanent magnets. Due to the vibration of wire in magnetic field, an AC potential is developed in the wire. This E.M.F. is amplified and fed back to energize driving coils which maintain the vibration. The pressure is measured by the output Frequency.

John Samir Zaky

Mina Safwat Sobhy

Samir Fouad Nasif

Usama Boshra Habib

Oil Pipeline Design, Operation and Construction

Metering Instruments

7.2.3 Active Electric Pressure Transducers


Piezoelectric crystals (quartz, Rochelle salt, barium titarate, lead-,zinconate-titanate) are the elements which provide basis for the active electric pressure transducers. These produce a surface potential difference when stressed in appropriate directions. Pressure pick-ups designed around such active elements have the crystal geometry oriented to give maximum piezoelectric response in a desired direction with little or no response in other directions. In piezoelectric transducers, although the E.M.F. developed is proportional to pressure, it is generally very difficult to calibrate it by normal static pressures. The latest technique is to calibrate these by exciting them by an electric field rather than by an actual physical pressure.

John Samir Zaky

Mina Safwat Sobhy

Samir Fouad Nasif

Usama Boshra Habib