Non-invasive classification of gas-liquid two-phase horizontal flow regimes using an ultrasonic Doppler sensor and a neural network

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70 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of flow pattern is a key issue in multiphase flow which is encountered in the petrochemical industry. It is difficult to identify the gas-liquid flow regimes objectively with the gas-liquid two-phase flow. This paper presents the feasibility of a clamp-on instrument for an objective flow regime classification of two-phase flow using an ultrasonic Doppler sensor and an artificial neural network, which records and processes the ultrasonic signals reflected from the two-phase flow. Experimental data is obtained on a horizontal test rig with a total pipe length of 21 m and 5.08 cm internal diameter carrying air-water two-phase flow under slug, elongated bubble, stratified-wavy and, stratified flow regimes. Multilayer perceptron neural networks (MLPNNs) are used to develop the classification model. The classifier requires features as an input which is representative of the signals. Ultrasound signal features are extracted by applying both power spectral density (PSD) and discrete wavelet transform (DWT) methods to the flow signals. A classification scheme of '1-of-C coding method for classification' was adopted to classify features extracted into one of four flow regime categories. To improve the performance of the flow regime classifier network, a second level neural network was incorporated by using the output of a first level networks feature as an input feature. The addition of the two network models provided a combined neural network model which has achieved a higher accuracy than single neural network models. Classification accuracies are evaluated in the form of both the PSD and DWT features. The success rates of the two models are: (1) using PSD features, the classifier missed 3 datasets out of 24 test datasets of the classification and scored 87.5% accuracy; (2) with the DWT features, the network misclassified only one data point and it was able to classify the flow patterns up to 95.8% accuracy. This approach has demonstrated the success of a clamp-on ultrasound sensor for flow regime classification that would be possible in industry practice. It is considerably more promising than other techniques as it uses a non-invasive and non-radioactive sensor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084002
Number of pages19
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number8
Early online date23 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event9th International Symposium on Measurement Techniques for Multiphase Flows - Hokkaido, Japan
Duration: 23 Sep 201525 Sep 2015
Conference number: 9


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