Inline Refractometers are playing a greater role in the area of pump performance. Refractometers also known as Brix Meters or Brix sensors exploit Snell’s law . These devices are important in the measurement of liquid concentrations because they will determine the pump speed and mixing i.e. often by industrial mixers , control valves, blenders and other equipment that is responsible for maintaining the ratio of a substance in a liquid.
Inline refractometers are popular because they can be adjusted to measure almost any kind of mixture, even if the application is new. This is normally done in a lab where there mixture ratios are tested at different temperatures and concentrations to determine an acceptable polynomial for the calculation. What is actually being measured is the angle of refraction through a prism like device.
How it works?
Refractometers are optical sensors which measure the angle θ when a beam of light passes through a transparent liquid. The concentration and purity of the liquid can be computed using this technique. Content provided by sensors.ph
When it comes to mixing, pump users are often familiar with the proportioning pump. Sometimes it is also referred to as a metering pump or mixing pump which has feedback from a flow meter and a Brix Refractometer, density meter or a particular sensor that is helping to determine the mixture concentrations . Whatever pump or system is being used, it is important that mixing ratios are maintained and that the final mixture meets the product specification at that particular point of the process. Automating the mixing process may not be a simple task for a novice, hence the need for engineering consultants and contractors to work together and very often use a system that is already successful in that application. This is experience matters because the owners/operators of a plant do not want to try something new unless it has been tried and tested in a live situation.
When considering processes that deal with hazardous materials, process engineering competency and experience play the most important role in a company’s success. This is why the “cheapest” solution is not always the best when considering that potentially hazardous materials more safety precautions and procedures need to be implemented to minimize the risk of accidents, leaks, spills and area contamination.
Energy consumption is also another consideration that can play a major role in determining the correct type of pump, piping and control process for mixing.
Selecting the Pump
For a novice who has just been introduced to the world of pumps, it can be a daunting task in the beginning to try and decide which pump is suitable for what application. We have a choice of many types of pumps on the market and many of the companies selling their pumps might be too eager to supply a particular type of pump, simply because they carry that pump and it is available. It is important to understand that there are different options such as:
- Piston/Plunger pumps
- Mechanical Diaphragm pumps
- Hydraulic Diaphragm pumps
All the above pumps can be considered as metering or proportional pumps but it is also possible that they may not be suitable for every mixing application due to the substrates being mixed, the temperature, viscosity and material compatibility.