Fluid Flow Metering and Mixing Technologies
Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of prototype fluid plug technologies with an array of capabilities for fluid flow metering, mixing, and conditioning. Each innovation within this suite is based on a core technology that has no moving parts, is simple to manufacture, and provides high reliability and efficiency. The base fluid plug technology can be modified with very few or no hardware changes to achieve the desired effect or combination of mixing, metering, and conditioning, depending on the application.
The suite of innovations includes:
- Fluid-mixing plug with metering capabilities
- Unbalanced-flow, fluid-mixing plug with metering capabilities
- Flow-meter plug with length-to-hole size uniformity
- Eddy current-minimized flow plug for use in flow conditioning and flow metering
- Flow-rate throttling and measurement valve with integrated turbulence control
- Pressure-equalized flow meter and conditioner
These technologies are appropriate for a wide range of fluid-flow applications, from straight to bent pipe, in industries ranging from chemical processing and manufacturing facilities to mining and liquid fuel engines.
The core of NASA’s suite of flow metering, mixing, and conditioning technologies is a unique innovation that offers improved performance in a wide range of applications. It is the only small, easy-to-install device of its kind that provides the ability to control turbulence, improve metering accuracy, or encourage thorough mixing. The innovation also facilitates rapid recovery of fluid pressure, helping to decrease power requirements and the associated costs.
Unlike many conventional technologies, the suite of flow metering, mixing, and conditioning technologies has no moving parts and is minimally intrusive. Moving parts or tubes employed by other technologies can protrude into the flow, break off, and cause damage to equipment located downstream. Some other flow measurement technologies require expensive hardware modifications for Doppler or use optical equipment that requires windows to be installed into the pipes. Many require complicated design modifications to perform additional functions, such as mixing and conditioning.
NASA’s multi-channel flow plug offers a highly efficient means of balancing flow for metering, mixing, and conditioning in a single device, one that is minimally invasive and requires few hardware modifications to serve a wide variety of applications.
For More Information
If you would like more information about this suite of technologies, please contact:
Fuentek is a contractor to NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program, providing support for the access and transfer of technology.
—By Danielle McCulloch