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Boost pipeline flow efficiency Fig 1 Lowering the viscosity of crude by heating or introducing high-molecular-weight polymers into the pipeline stream can increase throughput by reducing friction, so it is critical that pipeline operators continuously monitor viscosity and temperature of flowing products. The BiODE acoustic wave viscometer is an on-line instrument, no bigger than a matchbox, that can be incorporated into the pipeline to feed continuous viscosity and temperature measurements to monitoring and security systems. These sensors provide an operating shear rate several orders of magnitude higher than fluid-flow characteristics – unaffected by static, laminar and turbulent flow – to accurately measure viscosity from 0 to 10,000 cP. The sensor consists of a proprietary quartz crystal chip in a hermetically sealed abrasion-resistant package. As the acoustic wave penetrates fluid hydrodynamically coupled to the surface of the sensor, viscosity is calculated by measuring power loss. Since the sensor contains no moving parts, it does not require calibration. With a WEB interface for real-time viscosity view through an intranet and USB, the new sensor can be easily integrated with existing instrumentation and control systems.

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