Application of Personal Computers to Field Flow Measurement

by James B. Nystrom, Alden Research Laboratory Inc, Holden, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Flow measurements are often necessary to verify the performance of hydro turbines for regulatory, contractual, or engineering purposes. Historically, several methods utilizing various physical principles have been employed. Specialized, field installed equipment is required for each method and personnel usually require some years of training with the unique instrumentation used to record and analyze the flow measurement signal. The ASME and IEC Test Codes (1, 2) provide detailed descriptions of the physical requirements for each method. Implementation of several methods has been streamlined with the advent of the portable personal computer (PC) by utilizing its ability to record analog and digital signals and to immediately analyze the results in the field. The application of a PC to four flow measurement techniques is described: 1) pressure-time (Gibson), 2) tracer dilution, 3) area-velocity integration with current meters, and 4) transit time (Allen salt velocity). The physical principles, suitable field conditions, and required equipment are briefly described for each method with emphasis placed on the use of a PC for data acquisition, signal analysis, and data presentation.

Subject Headings: Flow measurement | Computer software | Flow duration | Pressurized flow | Water flow | Signal processing | Traffic signals | Travel time

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