Addressing the need for sensors that tolerate dirty environments, research is currently active on the technology "Transpiration Purging Access Probe for Particulate Laden or Hazardous Environments." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.
When researchers use sensors to directly observe processes in an industrial environment, problems associated with the sensor’s path or cleanliness of the observation window become critical. If not addressed, this critical issue could result in a disruption of the observation and measurement process. Therefore, sensors used for processes such as tomography, optical pyrometry, laser absorption spectroscopy, or other remote sensing industrial applications must be able to tolerate dirty environments in areas such as coal combustion, metal spraying, molten metal atomization, and steel making.
To address the problem, researchers using a device to house sensors often incorporate an air purge or deslagging blade to maintain the cleanliness of observation windows. The air purge, for example, maintains a steady flow across the viewing window to lessen the deposition of foreign matter existing within an industrial process. These techniques often require higher pressures for a short time to purge matter that may accumulate around viewing windows during normal purging. When high pressures are used, however, they result in additional problems such as increased energy requirements, increased bulk of needed components, and increased volume of the access probe’s footprint. To address these problems, a higher pressure pathway is needed that does not significantly alter the compact nature of the access probe.
This technology addresses the above problems by providing an access probe that applies remote sensing instrumentation positioned outside the vessel via access ports extending through the vessel containment. Although the medium is typically light and most often used for visual access, it may also be used to assist passive and active remote sensing instrumentation employing a variety of mediums such as X-rays, ultrasounds, magnetic resonances, radar, and sonar. In tests, the technology kept the viewing area free of ash and other matter and allowed an increase in air pressure without the associated problems described above.
U.S. Patent No: 8,896,798
Title: Transpiration Purging Access Probe for Particulate Laden or Transpiration Purging Access Probe for Particulate Laden or Hazardous Environments
Inventor: John VanOsdol
NETL Reference No: 10N-10