An apparatus and method for noninvasively detecting the presence of solid particulate matter suspended in a fluid flowing through a pipe or an oil and gas wellbore are described. Fluid flowing through a conduit containing the particulate solids is exposed to a fixed frequency (>1 MHz) of ultrasonic vibrations from a transducer attached to the outside of the pipe. The returning Doppler frequency shifted signal derived from the scattering of sound from the moving solid particles is detected by an adjacent transducer. The transmitted signal and the Doppler signal are combined to provide sensitive particulate detection. The magnitude of the signal and the Doppler frequency shift are used to determine the particle size distribution and the velocity of the particles. Measurement of the phase shift between the applied frequency and the detected Doppler shifted may be used to determine the direction of motion of the particles.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.