Acoustic measurements of flowing and quasi-static particulate suspensions

Moss, Simon H. O. (1997). Acoustic measurements of flowing and quasi-static particulate suspensions. PhD thesis The Open University.



Flowing suspensions of solid particles in gas can be found in various industrial applications, as a method for transporting powdered solids (known as "pneumatic conveying"). The problem of measuring the mass concentration of the solid fraction has not yet been satisfactorily resolved.
This thesis explores acoustic techniques to measure the particle concentration. Controlled suspensions -- both flowing and quasi-static - were generated in cylindrical tubes, and their acoustic properties were measured over three frequency ranges, requiring a variety of different measuring techniques:
Plane wave region (200 -4 kHz): the attenuation of plane waves travelling along the flow tube was measured. A simple method of measuring the characteristic impedance of the suspension was also devised and preliminary measurements were made.
Reverberant region (4 - 20 kHz). Three parameters were measured: the decay rate of the reverberant field in certain frequency bands; the level of actively-excited steady state sound; and the frequency of transverse resonant modes of the pipe.
Ultrasonic region (40 - 75 kHz): the attenuation of ultrasound was measured across the pipe diameter.
The measurements were compared with theoretical predictions. They showed the predicted linearity of acoustic attenuation with concentration, although the frequency dependence was less well predicted. In general, the larger particle sizes produced the
greatest discrepancy; an explanation is proposed. Ultrasonic measurements showed significant differences from the predicted frequency dependence.
A method of isolating acoustic transducers from the flow with a column of clean air is described. However, measurements may be complicated by interactions at the orifice into the flow pipe. Further work is needed in this area.
It is concluded that acoustic methods could be used to measure particle concentration. However, to remain insensitive to changes in the properties of the particles - size in particular - measurements must be made at more than one frequency.

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