Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR DEFINING WATER CONTENT OF A LIQUID.
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/093147
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a method and apparatus for measurement of total water content in a liquid. According to the method, the relative water content (aw) of the liquid is measured in a first measurement step at a first temperature (T¿1?). According to the invention, the temperature of the liquid under measurement is altered from the first temperature (T¿1?) and the relative water component is measured in a second measurement step at the second, altered temperature (T¿2?), whereby, based on these at least two measurement values (aw(1)T¿1?, aw(2)T¿2?), the total water content is determined from the temperature dependence of water dissolutioninto the liquid under measurement.

Inventors:
Leppänen, Jukka (Pietarinmäentie 6 C Klaukkala, FIN-01820, FI)
Lyyra, Matti (Aamutie 3 B 2 Vantaa, FIN-01670, FI)
Stormbom, Lars (Laajavuorentie 23 as 27 Vantaa, FIN-01620, FI)
Application Number:
PCT/FI2002/000417
Publication Date:
November 21, 2002
Filing Date:
May 15, 2002
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Vaisala, Oyj (P.O. Box 26 Helsinki, FIN-00421, FI)
Leppänen, Jukka (Pietarinmäentie 6 C Klaukkala, FIN-01820, FI)
Lyyra, Matti (Aamutie 3 B 2 Vantaa, FIN-01670, FI)
Stormbom, Lars (Laajavuorentie 23 as 27 Vantaa, FIN-01620, FI)
International Classes:
G01N25/56; G01N33/28; (IPC1-7): G01N25/56; G01N33/26
Foreign References:
US5330268A1994-07-19
EP0208096A11987-01-14
US4891969A1990-01-09
EP0417936A21991-03-20
US5597961A1997-01-28
US5563337A1996-10-08
US4080837A1978-03-28
US4080837A1978-03-28
US5330268A1994-07-19
EP0208096A11987-01-14
US4891969A1990-01-09
JPH10282084A1998-10-23
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 199, no. 901 29 January 1999 & JP 10 282 084 A (MITSUI SHIP BUILDING ENG) 23 October 1998
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 199, no. 90129, January 1999,
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEPPO LAINE OY (Itämerenkatu 3 B Helsinki, FIN-00180, FI)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:
1. A method for measurement of total water content in a liquid, in which method the relative water content (aw) of the liquid is measured in a first measurement step at a first temperature (Tl), characterized in that the temperature of the liquid under measurement is altered from said first temperature (T1) and the relative water content is measured at said second, altered temperature (T2) in a second measurement step, and based on these at least two measurement values (aw (l) Tl, aw (2) T2), the total water content is determined from the temperature dependence of water dissolution into said liquid under measurement.
2. The method of claim 1, characterized in that the liquid under measurement is heated for the second measurement step.
3. The method of claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the liquid under measurement is heated so long that its relative water content ceases to increase and up to such an elevated temperature that the stabilized value of water content is less that 1 aw, whereby the entire amount of water in the sample is dissolved into the liquid under measurement.
4. The method of claim 1 or 2 or 3, characterized in that the first and the second measurement steps are at least substantially performed as a continuous measurement.
5. The method of any one of foregoing claims, characterized in that the first and the second measurement steps are utilized for determination of the relative proportion of water in each phase of the liquid at ambient temperature.
6. The method of any one of foregoing claims, characterized in that the sampel of liquid to be heated and the sample of liquid to be measured at ambient temperature is the same sample.
7. An apparatus for measurement of total water content in a liquid, the apparatus comprising means (6) for measuring the relative water content (aw) of the liquid in a first measurement step at a first temperature (Tl), characterized in that the apparatus includes means (7,8) for altering the temperature of the liquid under measurement from said first temperature (Tl) and means for measuring the relative water content at said second, altered temperature (Ta), and computing means (8) for determination of the total water content on the basis of these at least two measurement values (taken at T1, T2) utilizing the temperature dependence of water dissolution into said liquid.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, characterized in that the apparatus includes heating means (7,18).
9. The apparatus of claim 7 or 8, characterized in that the measurement apparatus is a continuously operating measurement system.
10. The apparatus of any one of foregoing claims, characterized in that the meas urement apparatus (8) includes means for determination of the amount of water in each phase of the liquid as a relative proportion in regard to the total water content.
Description:
Method and apparatus for defining water content of a liquid The invention relates to a method according to the preamble of claim 1 for measuring the water content of a liquid.

The invention also relates to an apparatus according to claim 7 for measuring the water content of a liquid.

Due to phase changes of water, it has turned out problematic to measure the water content of liquid materials such as kerosine, lubricants or hydraulic fluids. Current methods permit water content measurement only from one phase of the water-con- taining system or detect total water content without distinction between the phases.

Furthermore, the phase system subject to measurement is frequently in a dynamic state, whereby a steady-state equilibrium between water and the other liquid phase has not been attained. As a result, distribution between the different phases (forma- tion of free water) cannot be predicted reliably from the total water content or, con- versely, the total water content cannot be determined on the basis of measurements performed on a single phase only.

It is an object of the present invention to overcome the problems of the prior-art techniques and to provide an entirely novel type of method and apparatus for deter- mining the water content of a liquid material.

The goal of the invention is achieved based on a novel concept that, since conven- tional techniques permit the measurement of the dissolved amount of water only, the present invention utilizes the positive temperature dependence of water content, which is characteristic of hydrophobic liquids, in such a fashion that the temperature of the sample under measurement is elevated until all free water is dissolved.

Knowing the temperature dependence of water content in the sample a priori or as determined from a cooling curve of the sample, the water content can be computed

for each phase separately, whereby also the total water content is obtained. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the temperature of the sample under measurement is varied in a cyclic fashion. According to another preferred embodi- ment, the sample is divided into a eatable bypass flow, while the reference meas- urement is performed on the main flow. In a third preferred embodiment, the meas- urement is based on a sampling technique.

More specifically, the method according to the invention is characterized by what is stated in the characterizing part of claim 1.

Furthermore, the apparatus according to the method is characterized by what is stated in the characterizing part of claim 7.

The invention offers significant benefits.

The invention offers a reliable technique for determination of total water content of a liquid. Also the amounts of water distributed in the different phases of the liquid can be determined by virtue of the invention. Measurements can be carried out in a conti- nuous fashion or on discrete samples.

In the following, the invention will be examined in more detail by means of exem- plifying embodiment (s) illustrated in the appended drawings, in which: FIG. 1 shows a graph illustrating an embodiment of a measurement cycle according to the invention; FIG. 2a shows a graph of a second embodiment of a measurement cycle according to the invention; FIG. 2b shows a graph of a third embodiment of a measurement cycle according to the invention;

FIG. 3 shows diagrammatically a continuously-operating measurement apparatus according to the invention; and FIG. 4 shows diagrammatically a sampling measurement apparatus according to the invention.

Assuming that the liquid under measurement can be characterized by a mathematical model capable of describing the behavior of water in the liquid as a function of temperature, the invention provides a computational technique for the determination of the contents of total water, free water and dissolved water in the liquid. In FIG. 1 are shown graphs illustrating two exemplary cases plotted with the vertical axis as the absolute water content in ppm and the horizontal axis as the temperature of the liquid under measurement. Curve 20 shows the water content saturation point as a function of temperature, in other words, permitting curve 20 to be used for deter- mining the maximum water content that the liquid in question can bind in dissolved phase at a given temperature. Curves 21 and 22 are two measured curves for samples having the same total water content but different proportions of dissolved and undissolved water at a given temperature Tl. Curve 21 shows a situation wherein the sample at a temperature Tl has reached the saturation curve 20, which means that the relative water content aw is 1. Now, when the sample is heated, the decreasing value of the measured relative water content aw can be used for computing the absolute value of water content that on curve 21 rises from 83 ppm to 100 ppm at a tempera- ture T2. The increase of the measured value is caused by the dissolution of free water into the liquid under measurement. After this point, the absolute water content com- puted from the value of relative water content aw does not continue to increase, which means that all the water contained in the liquid sample may be assumed to be in a dissolved phase. The difference (about 17 ppm) of water contents at temperatures Tl and T2 represents the amount of undissolved water. Hence, the termination point of measurement, e. g., at temperature Ta may be defined as a point at which no more increase in the computed absolute value of water content occurs as a result of

increased temperature. Inasmuch aw<l in the case of curve 22, the sample is not in an equilibrium state when the measurement is started at temperature Tl. When the second sample is heated to temperature T2, curves 21 and 22 coincide giving the same termination point of 100 ppm absolute water content for both samples. Using the same computational technique as for curve 21, the amount of undissolved water is about 30 ppm for the sample of curve 22.

Accordingly, the computations may be based on equations: PPMtot = PPM (T2) PPMsol = PPM (T1) PPMfw = PPM (T2)-PPM (T1), where PPMtot = total water content PPMsol = amount of dissolved water PPMfw = amount of free water (i. e., undissolved water).

The progress of water dissolution can be followed by comparing the ppm values of water content obtained at increasing temperature. As long as the ppm value grows, free water is still in undissolved state.

If the ppm model describing the dependence of absolute water content as a function of relative water content is not known, an alternative approach is to utilize the values of relative water content (aw) obtained at two selected temperatures Tl, Ta and there- between in the fashion illustrated in FIGS. 2a and 2b. Curve 24 of FIG. 2a is meas- ured by way of heating the sample so rapidly that no dissolution of free water into the sample can take place. This procedure assures that the absolute amount of dissolved water in the sample stays constant while the relative water content (aw) has fallen as determined by its temperature dependence. After all free water has dissolved at temperature T2 (as detected from no longer increase in the aw value), the measure- ment cycle may be terminated at point aw2 (T2) for the determination of the relative

proportion of free water and the computation of the same (free water) at temperature Tl as follows: The relative value of total water content in regard to its saturation value is obtained from equation: aw2 (Tl) * 100 % and, respectively, the proportion of free water is obtained from equation: aw2 (Tl)-awl (Tl).

As illustrated in FIG. 2b, an alternative method is to determine the temperature dependence from cooling curve 23 of the phase"model". First, the sample is heated along curve 25 to temperature T2 and is subsequently allowed to cool toward temper- ature T1. Next, from cooling curve 23 are selected at least two measurement points of temperature vs. aw value (with the precondition that aw>l), whereby these values can be used for determining the coefficients of the temperature dependence equation.

Using the same equation, it is further possible to compute the values of the above- mentioned variables at temperature T i- The measurement apparatus may be calibrated using oil-specific coefficients. Herein, the water content of a given oil composition must predetermined by titration or known by other means. Then, the measurement apparatus can update the coefficients by computation based on the water content values aw (l) Tl and aw (2) T2 entered to the apparatus.

As shown in FIG. 3, the measurement apparatus can be implemented as a bypass sensor that performs the measurements in a continuous fashion. The main flow pipe 1 is provided with a bypass flow channel 2 either as an unassisted free-flow or, alternatively, forced by a pump 3. The pump 3 may be controlled individually by the control block of measurement apparatus 8. To the bypass channel 2 is adapted a flow duct 4 eatable by means of a heater 7 that also is controlled by the control block of measurement apparatus 8. In the flow duct 4 are mounted mixing baffles 5 serving to mix the liquid under measurement and increase the length of its flow path in order to improve the heating of the fluid. Next to the flow duct 4 is located a measurement chamber 9 having a measurement transducer 6 located therein. Typically, the measurement transducer 6 is a sensor of relative humidity, such as a capacitive humidity sensor based on a dielectric polymer material. The output signal of transducer 6 is taken to measurement apparatus 8. Typically, the measurement data supplied by transducer 6 comprises a measurement signal of the relative water content aw and a temperature measurement signal. When necessary, the measurement apparatus 8 may have connected thereto also a second measurement transducer 10 serving to provide in accordance with the methods described above a second meas- urement signal taken at a different temperature, generally at a temperature substantially close to the ambient temperature. Typically, measurement transducer 10 submits in the above-described fashion both the relative humidity and the temperature signals. Obviously, these two signals may also be taken from respective dedicated transducers that are located sufficiently close to each other. In addition to the measurement and control functions, measurement apparatus 8 generally also includes the computational facilities required for conversion of measurement signals into desired formats. Generally, a conversion is made from a relative value to an absolute value. According to an alternative embodiment, the liquid entering the measurement chamber 9 may be subjected to cyclic heating and cooling. Cooling may take place in a passive manner by switching off the heater or, alternatively, actively through using a Peltier element (not shown), for instance. The measurement apparatus illustrated in the diagrams can be connected, e. g., to a discharge pipe of a

storage yard of liquids, a discharge pipe of a fuel tank truck or, in kerosine measure- ments, possibly to the infeed pipe of an airplane as a precautionary measure.

As shown in FIG. 4, the measurement apparatus may also be implemented as a portable sampling device 16, wherein the liquid to be analyzed is sampled, e. g., with the help of an injection syringe 11, wherefrom the sample is injected via an infeed pipe 13 into a measurement chamber 12. The measurement chamber is equipped with a heater 18 and possibly complemented with a cooler. The above-described measure- ment is then carried out using the measurement apparatus and the readings are logged from a display 17. After the measurement cycle is completed, the sample can be discarded via a discharge pipe 14.

It must be understood that the foregoing description of the invention as used in conjunction with liquids having a positive temperature coefficient of water dissolu- tion coefficient does not limit the applications of the invention that may as well be applied to liquids having a negative dissolution coefficient. Furthermore, the inven- tion elucidated above can be used equally well in continuously operating measure- ment systems shown in FIG. 3 as in a sampling measurement system illustrated in FIG. 4.