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ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
MERCURY SLUG FLOWMETER
K. L. Yudowitch
Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation
blished for use within the Atomic Energy Commission. Inquiries for additional copies
iwand any questions regarding reproduction by recipients of this document may be referred
* -'the Documents Distribution Subsection, Publication Section, Technical Information Branch,
IAtomiic Energy Commission, P. 0. Box E, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Inasmuch as a declassified document may differ materially from the original classified
document by reason of deletions necessary to accomplish declassification, this copy does
not constitute authority for declassification of classified copies of a similar document which
may bear the same title and authors.
of Manuscript: Unknown
IDocament Declassified: March 24, 1947
'lals document consists of 2 pages.
MERCURY SLUG FLOWMETER
Incidental to other researches at the Manhattan Project, the author developed with J. F.
Bacon and other associates meter to measure small gas flows at various pressures. The
* requirements of an operating pressure drop of less than 3 mm. of mercury and independence
from physical properties of the gas made capillary flowmeters, rotameters,and circuit-
terminating flowmeters undesirable.
Various designs of absolute displacement meters were investigated. The design which
was adopted was suggested by a meter described by Appleby and Avery*. In operation, the
mercury slug traverses the spiral path as indicated. The spiral was made by winding six
mm. pyrex tubing in a plane and allowing it to set on a slightly convex carbon block. This
fixes the spiral outlet one to two mm. above the inlet.
In filling the meter with mercury, it is essential that sufficient mercury be used that a
new slug close the spiral entrance before the original slug completely leaves the spiral.
The length of the slug and,therefore,the volume swept out per cycle was found to vary
somewhat with flow-rate. This requires volume calibration over the range of flow-rates to
be encountered. In all cases the slug length decreased gradually as the flow-rate was in-
creased; the greatest variation encountered being a 15 per cent volume increase over the
total useable range. At rates greater than about 250 cc, min, the slug breaks into several
sections, causing erratic behavior; at rates less than about 25 cc/min, the volume swept
out per cycle increases erratically. Timing and counting of the cycles may be done manu-
ally or by means of a relay activated the the passage of the slug past the contacts shown
in the illustration.
The advantages of this meter are:
(1) It operates on a low pressure drop.
(2) It operates over a broad pressure range (2 to 76 cm).
(3) Its operation is independent of the physical properties of the gas being measured.
(4) It gives an integrated or average flow-rate, rather than an instantaneous rate.
These meters have held their calibrations to within from one to 10 per cent over a period
of several months of regular use. Most variations were probably due to mercury contami-
*Appleby, W. J. and Avery, W. H.
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 06910 981
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