Staff at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed and applied a simple ultrasonic attenuation measurement to measure slurry concentration in real time during suspension of solids settled in a large tank. This paper presents a simple single frequency ultrasonic measurement technique that demonstrates the ability of ultrasonic sensors to measure slurry concentration. Sensor calibration data show that in this attenuation regime ultrasonic signal attenuation is proportional to the applied frequency and to the slurry volume fraction. Real-time measurements of ultrasonic signal attenuation were used to track the process of slurry mixing using single sensors and sensor arrays. Results from two experiments show the use of real-time measurements of ultrasonic signal attenuation to track the process of slurry mixing in situ and to track the ability to maintain a well-mixed steady state condition. Comparison of concentration means of the ultrasonic measurements with concentration means obtained from discrete extractive measurements show that the distributions overlap and cannot be statistically distinguished. The real-time ultrasonic sensor can be used as a primary measurement method or to reduce reliance upon extractive methods to measure slurry density and solids concentration. © 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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