A summary of frequently asked questions.

Industrial Applications

Incipientus ultrasound technology is designed to accurately measure velocity profiles in a wide range of opaque and transparent fluids. Incipientus technology has been successfully used to measure the flow of mineral suspensions (bentonite, kaolin etc.), food stuffs (chocolates, mayonnaise etc.), and other water and oil-based fluids.

Our standard range of pipe diameters is from 1” up to 4”. Sensor technology is scalable and custom solutions are provided upon request, i.e., from 4” to 14”.

We can measure through steel pipes, carbon steel pipes, acrylic and other plastic materials (e.g., PVC). However, our standard range of non-invasive sensors are designed for industrial-grade SS316L pipes. This is achieved by using special wedge technology, which ensures optimal ultrasound beamforming and propagation between the sensor and liquid.

It is possible to measure velocity fields (profiles) in tanks and stirred vessels.

Yes. There is no real limitation regarding geometries. We have, for example, measured in rectangular channels, annular flow, and even inside complex valves. We provide customized sensors for your unique applications, e.g., flow in small geometries (much less than 5 mm) can be measured accurately.

The Incipientus Data Acquisition (DAQ) electronic box should be installed within 3 m from the non-invasive sensors in order to minimize noise etc. The DAQ box is connected to a (Human Machine Interface) HMI via a high-speed ethernet cable, thus allowing the HMI to be installed, for example, in a control room up to 100 m away from the measuring point. The HMI may also be eliminated if the system is directly connected to give output signals directly to a Programmable Logica Controller (PLC) or existing control system.

It is possible to install a sensor on the outside of the pipe at the bottom and measure velocities up to the free surface. The measured profile can be integrated to calculate the volumetric flow rate in the partially filled pipe.

The pulsed Doppler technique (UVP) has no limitation other than that the pulse repetition frequency must match the flow velocity to be measured. The maximum PRF that can be used also depends on the diameter of the pipe. Practically it is possible to measure flow velocities up to several meters per second, thus corresponding to fully turbulent flow. However, it is currently impossible, from a practical point of view, to determine rheological properties in turbulent flow since there is no linear relationship between the pressure drop and the wall shear stress. This limitation may be overcome if more advanced boundary layer theories are used to determine the wall stress in turbulent flow.

If the total concentration of gas bubbles is “small” and the diameter of the bubbles is small in comparison with the pulsed ultrasound measurement volume (diameter and frequency-dependent), then the bubbles form very good reflectors or scattering centers. If the concentration of bubbles is “high,” then there occurs multiple reflections of the ultrasound energy at each bubble liquid interface, thus leading to a weak echo signal and more inaccurate velocity profile measurements.

It has been demonstrated that in case a set-up with dual sensors operating with different frequencies, it is possible to simultaneously measure the velocity of both air bubbles and the continuous phase (liquid).

The sound velocity and acoustic impedance in air and other gases is significantly lower compared to gases and liquids. This means that the high-frequency ultrasound pressure wave propagates much slower in air and other gases and produce very weak echo signals. It is therefore not practical to use pulsed ultrasound systems to measure in air.

Incipientus systems have been carefully validated for over ten years for a wide range of industrial suspensions ranging from foods such as chocolate and tomato-based products, paint, cement grouts, cellulose to water-based drilling mud (WBM) and oil-based drilling mud (OBM). You can read more about our applications and business cases here on our site.

The maximum solids concentration largely depends on the particle sizes in the mixture or suspension. For example, successful UVP pipe flow measurements have been done with cements with high water to cement ratios of 0.6.

Incipientus systems offer output signals and communication with common industrial standards for process integration through PROFINET and 4-20 mA.

Incipientus ultrasound sensors can be mounted on most industrial stainless-steel pipes. With pipes having tri-clamp, flange, DIN, and SMS connectors. Custom solutions and adaptors are available if needed.

Incipientus certifications

  • EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) Certified.
  • 3-A Sanitary Standards compliant
  • Ingress Protection IP 66 for the ILP System
  • CE conformity with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards; comply with the Low Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive
  • RoHS directive (2011/65/EU)

Measurement Principle: UVP & In-Line Rheology

Incipientus instrument uses Ultrasonic Velocity Profiling (UVP) techniques to measure an instantaneous velocity profile in fluids across the ultrasonic beam axis. A sensor transmits a short sinusoidal ultrasonic pulse through the pipe wall that travels along the measurement axis into the liquid flowing inside a pipe. When the ultrasonic pulse hits a small moving particle/microbubble suspended in the flowing liquid, part of the ultrasound energy scatters back to the sensor. The time interval between two successive pulses is used to determine the flow velocity in each spatial position. Many pulses are sent to track the flow and are separated by a fixed pulse repetition frequency. The output is a complete and instantaneous velocity profile, which can also be integrated to determine the volumetric flow rate. You can read more and watch a video about our technology here.

The maximum and lowest flow velocities that can be measured mainly depend on the pulse repetition interval (PRI) setting of the UVP system. With Incipientus UVP, very low flows below ~1 mm/ sec can be easily measured.

The spatial resolution is largely determined by the pulsed ultrasound beam characteristics such as the number of cycles, emission frequency, beamwidth as well as the sampling rate of incoming echoes. By maximizing each of these factors, the spatial resolution can then be increased to cater for a wide range of flow applications. The spatial resolution is typically in the order of fractions of a millimeter.

Incipientus systems use specialized algorithms that combine Ultrasound Velocity Profiling (UVP) with Pressure Difference measurements (PD), i.e., UVP+PD to determine the fluid rheology. The velocity profile is numerically differentiated to give the point-wise shear rate distribution, and the pressure difference measurement gives the shear stress distribution. With both the shear stress and shear rate distribution, the complete flow curve or rheogram can then be plotted. This process, when repeated over a longer time period, allows rheological monitoring of important flow parameters in each flow process. Read more about our technology here.

Our technology provides accurate rheological measurements which are representative of the prevailing flow conditions. Comparisons with conventional rotational rheometers have shown good agreement of less than 5% in some cases. It has to be noted that for structured and time-dependent fluids, the error difference with rotational rheometers increases since they can not capture the fluid rheology in real-time.

System Sensors: Ultrasound, Pressure, and Temperature

Incipientus currently supplies two measurement systems with different measurement capabilities as follows:

IFV ̶ The Pulsed ultrasound in-line flow visualizer (IFV) is an advanced portable system that is designed specifically for measuring flow velocity profiles of industrial fluids in different environments.
ILP ̶ The in-line process (ILP) monitoring and quality control system has pressure measurement sensors allowing it to be used for in-line rheological measurements. The ILP is designed with features for process monitoring and quality control for production plant environments. The features make it a unique system for in-line quantitative rheological measurements that are needed for current and future digitalized processing industries. The ILP is Industry 4.0 ready.

Incipientus DAQ electronic box has two independent channels for non-invasive ultrasound sensors plus additional inputs for PT100 temperature and pressure sensors.

No, Incipientus have developed unique non-invasive sensor technology that allows us to install the sensors on the outside of the pipe, i.e., a clamp-on solution. Measurements are made non-invasively through stainless steel pipe walls.

Incipientus provides non-invasive differential pressure sensor technology in which the sensor membrane is integrated into the stainless-steel pipe walls. There are no visible membranes or moving parts in contact with the liquid.

Incipientus standard range of non-invasive sensors can be used from 0 °C up to 70 °C. Our high-temperature sensors are designed to meet CIP -cleaning requirements and have an upper-temperature limit of 140 °C.

System Software

All our systems are conveniently controlled from our application in the form of a web-based interface. The application can be installed on the localhost (standard PC, Laptop, or industrial PC).

Incipientus software saves measurement data in SQL databases. The software also gives the user the capability to export important data (RF, Velocity profiles, and Rheology) to Comma Separated Value (CSV) files. The CSV files allow for convenient post-processing and data analytics with common platforms such as Matlab, Python, and Microsoft Excel.

In most cases, depending on the settings and pulses used, a single acquisition can contain several hundred profiles that are averaged to obtain one average velocity profile. The main limitation on saving acquisitions is with the amount of space available on the storage device used for the application. A single Database can contain several hundred averaged velocity profiles (datasets).

As Incipientus, we offer full support (hardware, software, and application solutions) to all our clients.

The host PC must run Windows 10 OS or better, with a Processor of core-i5, minimum 8 GB RAM, and a minimum of 256 GB of hard drive storage space.

Academic Research

Incipientus UVP technology is versatile, and this facilitates researchers to non-invasively study interesting flow phenomena in different applications such as: Pipe flow, Channel flow, Radial flow, multiphase flows, Couette flows, bubble flows, gas-liquid flows, rheology, and vortex flows.

Several scientific articles in which the Incipientus technology was used can be found here.

Our UVP devices can use ultrasound sensors with a wide range of operating frequencies ranging from 0.3 to 10 MHz

UVP systems provided by Incipientus measure non-invasively using ultrasound as such other techniques based on light such as PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) and LDA (Laser-Doppler Anemometry) can be used at the same time without interference,

Yes, the Incipientus UVP Software for both ILR (in-line Process rheometry) and IFV (In-line Flow Visualizer) provides analysis plots of measured data within the application. For example, several datasets/acquisitions can be superimposed for analysis. Additionally, the software allows exporting important data (RF, Velocity profiles, and Rheology) to Comma Separated Value (CSV) files. The CSV files can easily be read for data analytics with common platforms such as Matlab, Python, and Microsoft Excel.

UVP velocity profile measurements are relatively fast, allowing up to 1000 measurements per second. Normally, a complete acquisition relies on the number of pulses used to estimate a single velocity profile, the Pulse Repetition Frequency (PRF), the maximum depth to be covered, and the sound velocity in the fluid under study.