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First inline, direct measurement of wall shear

By Scott Jenkins |

To date, determination of the shear forces exerted on vessel walls by moving fluids has required inferring the value from other measurements. Now Lenterra Inc. (Newark, N.J.; www.lenterra.com) has introduced the first instrument capable of direct measurement of wall-shear forces without process flow interruption. The instrument, known as the RealShear sensor, also allows operators to measure fluid viscosity changes in a mixing process using known parameters. The Lenterra sensor depends on a floating element that is installed flush to the vessel wall, and an attached cantilever beam that deflects in response to shear stress as fluid flows across its surface. The cantilever transmits the shear force to a fiber-optic microresonator, which has its resonance centered at a particular light wavelength. Shear stress felt by the cantilever places strain on the optical resonator, which causes a shift in the resonant wavelength. The shift is proportional to the shear stress. Because the RealShear sensors are optically based, they are unaffected by electromagnetic interference and are explosion- safe. They offer measurement rates in the kilohertz range, and can have the sensitivity to measure forces from a fraction of one pascal to millions of…
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