Inline Consistency Measurement

Ideally, the complete process stream should be exposed to the sensor, but in large flows this exposure is not practical. Therefore, samples are taken. The sample should be taken from the center of the pipe, preferably from the discharge of a centrifugal pump, so that separation or settling of solids is minimized (see Figure 7.9.2).

Consistency-measuring instruments detect the consistency of the process fluid as shear forces acting on the sensing element. Two basic types of consistency detectors are the fixed and rotary. In the latter, the shear force is reflected as the torque required to maintain a rotary sensor at constant speed, as the imbalance of a strain-gauge resistance bridge, or as a turning moment. The instruments are calibrated inline; thus the output is not in terms of dry consistency but rather some arbitrary, reproducible value.

Fixed sensors depend on the process flow for measurement, and for such instruments, the output is affected by the velocity of the flow. The sensor contour minimizes the flow effects on the output over the operating flow range. On the other hand, rotating sensors do not depend on process flow for measurement. While these units are also sensitive to flow velocity variations, they can be used over wider flow ranges. In addition, the rotary motion of the sensor produces some self-cleaning action while fixed sensors depend solely on a properly designed contour to prevent material obstructions.

The sensing element of this instrument is a blade, specially shaped to minimize the effects of velocity. The instrument can be mounted on any line 4 in (100 mm) or larger. The mounting is through a 2-in (50-mm) flange supplied with the instrument.

A variation of this design uses a shaped float inserted through a pipeline tee. The shear forces acting on the float are transmitted to the force bar of a pneumatic transmitter mounted on top of the tee. The unit can only be installed in a vertical pipe, with 5 pipe diameters of straight

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FIG. 7.9.2 Installation of a blade-type consistency transmitter in vertical and horizontal pipelines. (Courtesy of DeZurik, a Unit of General Signal)

run required on the upstream side. The minimum line size is 6 in (150 mm).

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