Gill R&D volumetric ultrasonic gas flow sensor

May 14, 2014

gill-rd-application-story-flow-meter.JPGA national aerospace and aeronautic research organisation required a prototype ultrasonic gas flow sensor to understand the physics of operating ultrasonics in a low pressure environment.

The Challenge

The sensor was required to operate in pressures of ~4.3 psi at both low and high flow rates, ranging from ~56 - 170 lpm. These requirements had to be balanced with a minimised mechanical package size. The unit would then be evaluated as an option for the flow measurement device in the Portable Life Support System Ventilation Loop. This project was also required in short lead times to allow evaluation of an ultrasonic gas flow sensor, following testing of an earlier unit.

The Results

The work package requirement was the supply of a unit for bench evaluation, and the customers' requirements were presented and agreed in a Statement of Work.

A Gill respiratory gas flow sensor unit was used as the basis of the evaluation unit, with the flow tube bore increased to cater for the higher flow rates, and new electronics were developed to replace obsolete components.

Alongside this work Gill undertook studies to understand the requirements to meet the specified performance at low internal pressures. These included:

  • Data collection on air physical properties at low pressure
  • Validation of data collection from existing units
  • Ultrasonic models
  • Gas flow dynamics models
  • Results analysis and design recommendations
  • Testing was carried out on the Gill designed, built and calibrated Piston Prover
  • The prototype sensor was supplied to the customer for testing and evaluation, and Gill is working with the customer on the next phase as funding becomes available

Phases of working with the customer

  • Specification received and agreed
  • Work package defined and approved with short delivery timescales
  • Low pressure studies undertaken
  • Design and build of prototype based on evaluation studies
  • Informal testing
  • Prototype supplied to customer for evaluation within agreed timescale
  • Follow-up and ongoing support
  • Refinement and re-packaging of design



Do you have a new development requirement?

We have extensive experience taking projects through all phases of development, in rapid timeframes.


Tel: +44 (0)1590 613400








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