Optimization of injected radiotracer volume for flow rate measurement in closed conduits

Miroslav M. Pavlović, Marijana R. Pantović Pavlović, Pavel Bartl, Jasmina Stevanović, Bojan Radak


In chemical processes it is essential that the flow in the process is accurately defined. Fluid velocity measurements are important for fluid flow quality performance in flow systems. This study focuses on determination of the volumetric flow rate and its standard (relative) deviation for calibration of conventional flow meters by using a radiotracer approach. The measurements for flow meter calibration were performed at a pilot-scale flow rig using Technetium-99 m (99mTc) as a radiotracer in the form of pertechnetate ion (99mTcO4-). The measured data were analyzed, and precision of the experimental setup was investigated under two different approaches – IAEA’s RTD software and sum approximation of raw data. For the first time, the variation of standard deviation of calculated flow rate with the injection volume and activity of the radiotracer was determined. Plug flow with axial dispersion was used to simulate the measured RTD curves and investigate the flow dynamics of the flowing water. The results of the study have shown the possibility of in situ calibration of flow meters with a relative error lower than 1 %. They also revealed a slight dependency of the precision of output results on the injection volume as well as similar results for manual and specialized RTD software data processing.


radiotracers; RTD; technetium-99m; flow meter; calibration; chemical industry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/HEMIND20050325P

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