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oLevel measurement
Refers to instrumentation techniques
designed to measure the height of a
fluid or solid within a containing vessel.
The level measurement can be either
continuous or point values.
• Continuous level sensors measure level
within a specified range and determine the
exact amount of substance in a certain place,
• Point-level sensors only indicate whether
the substance is above or below the sensing
What is measured?
• The measured medium can be liquid, gas or solid
and stored in vessels (open/closed tanks), silos,
bins and hoppers.

Units of level can be expressed in:

o feet (meters)
o gallons (liters)
o pounds (kilograms)
o cubic volume. ( ft^3 , m^3 )
There are a number of ways that level
can be measured within the process
control systems.
The level measurement methods
range from manual systems through
to systems that can be integrated
into automated control systems.
Direct and Indirect
•Hydrostatic Head
• Float
• Load Cells
• Magnetic Level
Gauge Capacitance
• Laser
• Radar
•Guided Wave Radar
• Dip Stick
• Vibration




Direct methods
Sense the surface or interface of the
liquid and is not affected by changes in
material density (Specific Gravity)
Dip Stick
Sight Glass
Bob and Tape
Indirect Method
Measuring some other physical parameter such
as pressure, weight, or temperature.
Hydrostatic head methods
Load Cells
Selection Criteria
When determining the type of level sensor that
should be used for a given application, there are a
series of questions that must be answered:
o Open tank or closed tank?
o Can the level sensor be inserted into the tank or
should it be completely external? Contact or non-
o Continuous measurement or point measurement?
o Direct or Indirect measurement?
o What type of material is being measured? Liquid
or Solid? Clean or Slurry?
Application Constraints:
• Price
• Accuracy
• Appearance
• Response rate
• Ease of calibration or programming
• Physical size
• Mounting of the instrument
• Monitoring or control of continuous or point
Direct Level Methods
• Dipstick
All car owners are familiar with. This method
provides a manual method of detecting level.
Measurements of liquid with slow changes in level
(E.g. Oil Sump).

• Sight Glass
The liquid level is directly displayed against a scale.
Liquid level measurement of vessels where level is
not required to be recorded.
Direct Level Methods
• Bob and tape
Highest point reached by A bob weight and
measuring tape provide the most simple and
direct method of measuring liquid.
• Floats and tape
Float rides the surface level to provide the
measurement. Liquid density does not affect
Bob and tape
Indirect methods
• Hydrostatic Head Level Sensors
Measuring the hydrostatic head produced by the
liquid column.

A pressure sensing element is installed at the bottom

of the tank and pressure is converted to level.

Different liquid densities or closed tank applications

must be accounted for.
General Theory for Head Measurement
• Pressure exerted by the
Height of the liquid is:
P = H x Density*

• If the Density of the

liquid is known then
• H = Pressure over
*Note: For liquids other than water, use the density of water 0.0361
lb/in3 as a reference and multiply by the SG of the liquid.

Calculate the height that will read

if tank contains oil (S.G. = 0.85) at
11 psi.

P = H x Density x SG

11 psi = (H x 0.0361 lbs/in ^3) x


11 = ( H x 12) x 0.0361 x 0.85

H= 30 feet
Indirect method

• Bubbler
The indicator is located anywhere.
The air pressure in the tube varies
with the head pressure of the height
of the liquid.
Bottom of tube determines reference
Indirect Method
• Capacitance level detectors

Also referred to as radio frequency (RF) or admittance

level sensors.

The probe and the tank wall form a capacitor whose

capacitance is dependent on the amount of product
in the tank
An empty tank has a lower,
A filled tank a higher capacitance.
Capacitance sensor
Capacitance sensor
• Capacitance transmitters are based
on the difference in the dielectric
constants (ᶓ) of process fluids and
air. The dielectric constant of oils
ranges from 1.8 to 5, whilst for pure
glycol it is 37. And for aqueous
solutions, it varies from 50 to 80.
Indirect Method
• UltraSonic Level Measurement

Level is a function of the time it takes an ultrasonic

pulse to hit the surface and return
Limitations include:
o Surface foam absorbs signal, agitation create
o High Pressure & High Temperatures affect the signal
o Vapour and condensate create false echo’s
Indirect method

• Radar Level Sensors (Microwave)

Similar to ultrasonic but at a much higher frequency
(6.3 GHz)

• Guided wave Radar Sensor

A generated pulse of electromagnetic energy travels
down the probe. Upon reaching the liquid surface
the pulse is reflected.
Difference bet. Two radar sensors
Verdict bet two radar sensors

• Guided wave radar is 20 ×

more efficient than through-
air radar because the guide
provides a more focused
energy path.
Indirect method
• Load Cells
Tank level is determined by the weight of the
quantity of material

Load Cells (strain gauge transducers) placed at

the bottom of the tank measure the weight
and then convert it to an electrical signal.
• Load cells measure the weight of material that is
present in the tank and the weight of the tank.
The weight of tank is known to us.
• The weight of tank is subtracted from the reading
and leaving the weights of the contents in the
• By knowing the cross sectional area of tank and
the specific weight of the material. The volume
or the depth of the material can be calculated.
To measure level, the load
cell must be incorporated
into the vessel's support
structure. As process fluid
fills the vessel, the force
on the load cell increases.

Knowing the vessel's

geometry (specifically, its
cross-sectional area) and
the fluid's specific gravity,
it is a simple matter to
convert the load cell's
known output into the
fluid level.
There is no such thing as an exact

Your foot is not 12


Tanjuatco, Jahriel P.