The present electronic multi-purpose material level sensor is based on time domain reflectometry (TDR) of very short electrical pulses. Pulses are propagated along a transmission line that is partially immersed in a liquid, powder, or other substance such as grain in a silo. The time difference of the reflections at the start of the transmission line and the air/liquid interface are used to determine levels to better than 0.01 inch. The sensor is essentially independent of circuit element and temperature variations, and can be mass produced at an extremely low price. The transmission line may be a Goubau line, microstrip, coaxial cable, twin lead, CPS or CPW, and may typically be a strip placed along the inside wall of a tank. The reflected pulses also contain information about strata within the liquid such as sludge-build-up at the bottom of an oil tank.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.