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Electronic multi-purpose material level sensor

United States Patent

5,609,059
March 11, 1997
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Visit the Industrial Partnerships Office Website
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.
McEwan; Thomas E. (Livermore, CA)
The Regents of the University of California (Oakland, CA)
08/ 359,090
December 19, 1994
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.