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Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

Introduction:Pressure is probably one of the most commonly measured variables in the


power plant. It includes the measurement of steam pressure; feed water
pressure, condenser pressure, lubricating oil pressure and many more.
Pressure is actually the measurement of force acting on area of surface.
PRESSURE = FORCE / UNIT AREA
UNITS:-

The units of measurement are either in


Pascal
Bar
Psi (pounds per square)
kg/cm2

Pressure Scales:-

Before we go into how pressure is sensed and measured, we have to


establish a set of ground rules. Pressure varies depending on altitude
above sea level, weather pressure fronts and other conditions. The
measure of pressure is, therefore, relative and pressure measurements
are stated as either gauge or absolute.
Gauge pressure is the unit we encounter in everyday work (e.g., tire
ratings are in gauge pressure).
A gauge pressure device will indicate zero pressure when bled down to
atmospheric pressure (i.e., gauge pressure is referenced to atmospheric
pressure). Gauge pressure is denoted by a (g) at the end of the pressure
unit [e.g., kPa (g)].
Absolute pressure includes the effect of atmospheric pressure with the
gauge pressure. It is denoted by an (a) at the end of the pressure unit
[e.g., kPa (a)]. An absolute pressure indicator would indicate atmospheric
pressure when completely vented down to atmosphere - it would not
indicate scale zero.
Absolute Pressure = Gauge Pressure + Atmospheric Pressure

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

The majority of pressure measurements in a plant are gauge. Absolute


measurements tend to be used where pressures are below atmosphere.
Typically this is around the condenser and vacuum building.

Absolute pressure

Pressure Gauges:Bourdon Tubes:Bourdon tubes are circular-shaped tubes with oval cross sections (refer to
Figure 2). The pressure of the medium acts on the inside of the tube. The
outward pressure on the oval cross section forces it to become rounded.
Because of the curvature of the tube ring, the bourdon tube then bends as
indicated in the direction of the arrow.

Due to their robust construction, bourdon are often used in harsh


environments and high pressures, but can also be used for very low
pressures; the response time however, is slower than the bellows or
diaphragm.

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

Bellows:Bellows type elements are constructed of tubular membranes that are


convoluted around the circumference (see Figure 3). The membrane is
attached at one end to the source and at the other end to an indicating
device or instrument. The bellows element can provide a long range of
motion (stroke) in the direction of the arrow when input pressure is
applied.

Differential Pressure Transmitters:Most pressure transmitters are built around the pressure capsule
concept. They are usually capable of measuring differential pressure (that
is, the difference between a high pressure input and a low pressure input)
and therefore, are usually called DP transmitters or DP cells.

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

A differential pressure transmitter has three functional parts.


1) Direct Pressure sensing element (located in the lower
housing).
The majority of industrial DP Transmitters are fitted with diaphragm as the
pressure sensing element. This diaphragm is a mechanical device. It is
placed in between the two pressure inlet ports. The diaphragm will be
deflected by the applied pressure.
This is clarified in Fig-7. This deflection is converted into an electrical
signal. This is normally done by the sensors. The commonly used sensors
are (a) Strain Gauge (b) Differential Capacitance (c) Vibrating wire. The
sensor output is proportional to the applied pressure.

2) Electronic Unit:
The electrical signal generated at the lower chamber by the sensor is in
the range of milli-volt only. This signal is to be amplified to 0-5V or 0-10V
range or is to be converted to 4-20mA for onward transmission to a
remote instrument. This upper housing is the Transmitter portion of the DP
Transmitter which houses the Electronic Unit. See Fig-7 for further
clarifications.
3)2-Wire 4-20mA Current Transmitter:
A DC output current is generated which is directly proportional to the
pressure range of the Differential Pressure Transmitter. The lower range is

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

4mA, and the upper range is 20mA. This controlled current output is not
affected by load impedance variation and supply voltage fluctuations. This
4-20mA output is superimposed with digital communications of BRAIN or
HART FSK protocol.
Industrial applications of Differential Pressure Transmitters:
There are unlimited industrial applications of Differential Pressure
Transmitters.
Oil and Gas flow metering in onshore, offshore and subsea
applications.
Water and effluent treatment plants. It is largely used to monitor
filters in these plants.
Pressure drops across valves can be monitored.
Pump control monitoring.
More complex pressure transducers include an electronic circuit for
rationalizing the transducer output signal so that there is very little
difference from one transducer to another of the same type. A
temperature compensation circuit is also added to reduce the errors
associated with changes in media temperature. Often the rationalized and
compensated output is then converted to a standardized output signal to
make it universally compatible with end users instrumentation such as
readouts, analog to digital converter cards, programmable logic
controllers and data acquisition cards.
Installation:The pressure gauge should be installed where exposure to heat and
vibration are minimal and where the dial can be easily read. It is also
important to install the gauge in a location with undisturbed and
continuous flow of the pressure medium. It is recommended that an
isolating device, such as a needle valve or gauge cock, be installed
between the process and the pressure gauges. This allows the gauge to
be taken out of service without interruption of the process.

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

Gauge cock

Needle Valve

A pressure gauge siphon is a simple device used to protect a


pressure sensor from high-temperature media, such as steam. It can also
be used to reduce the potentially damaging effects of rapid pressure
changes. These low-cost devices allow systems builders to use a pressure
sensor with a much lower temperature range in high-temperature
applications. When first installed the siphon should be filled with water or
some other suitable separating medium. As seen in the diagram,
condensation of the pressure medium collected inside the coiled portion of
the siphon prevents direct contact with the external media.

If gauges are to be used for steam service a siphon filled with water
must be installed between gauge lines to prevent live steam from entering
the bourdon tube.

Document Title:

Training on GET-Instrumentation

November
2014

PRESSURE MEASURMENT AND CONTROL

Code: PI

A diaphragm seal should be used in applications where process


media should not come in to contact with gauge.