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Development of a FBG vortex flow sensor for high-temperature applications

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Author: Cheng, L.K. · Schiferli, W. · Nieuwland, R.A. · Franzen, A. · Boer, J.J. den · Jansen, T.H.
Source:21st International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors, 15 May - 19 May 2011, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Conference code: 85008, 7753, 77536V-1 - 77536V-4
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Identifier: 430097
ISBN: 9780819482464
Article number: 77536V
Keywords: Electronics · Bragg grating · Fibre optic · fibre sensor · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Physics & Electronics Fluid Mechanics Chemistry & Energetics · OPT - Optics FD - Fluid Dynamics PID - Process & Instrumentation Development · TS - Technical Sciences


A robust fibre optic flow sensor has been developed to measure liquid or gas flows at ambient temperatures up to 300°C and pressures up to 100 bar. While such environmental conditions are typical in pressurized steam systems in the oil and gas industry (downhole and surface), wider applications are envisaged. The flow sensor uses a specially-designed bluff body to generate vortex-induced pressure fluctuations as a function of flow. The pressure fluctuations result in mechanical strain fluctuations in the sensor plate which is attached to the bluff-body. This is detected by means of a Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG). The frequency of the pressure fluctuations is proportional to the flow velocity and is measured by analyzing the spectrum of the FBG sensor signal. Flow velocity measurements ranging from ~1 m/s to ~25 m/s have been demonstrated. Special mechanical design, gluing and packaging processes have been developed to enable applications at high temperatures and high pressures (HPHT). Although the working principle is the same as for conventional vortex flow meters, this flow sensor does not require electronics, which is a great advantage at high temperatures. © 2011 Copyright Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).