Nicol Pirow

Nicol Pirow

MEng Student 

Development of a novel non-invasive, non-intrusive water flow rate meter for use in an intelligent geyser system

The installation of an intelligent geyser system currently includes the expensive, non-trivial installation of an inline water flow rate meter. The increased cost and inconvenience of such an installation discourages potential users to install such a system on an existing geyser.

The aim of the project is to develop a novel method to measure the flow rate of domestic hot water and thus remove the need to install an inline flow meter. Minimizing the cost of such a system is important, to make the option more attractive than the current installation. Thermal models which equate heat loss in a conducting pipe to water velocity are coupled with vibration sensors to determine fine velocity and fine time data. The thermal model is based on heat transfer first principles and is intended to provide sufficient flow rate estimation resolution. The vibration analysis has been determined to be ineffective in creating quantitative flow rate estimation for domestic flow rates, but vibration information is being investigated for qualitative classification of flow rates and exact water usage duration. 

The intention of the project is to provide the technology to create a non-invasive, non-intrusive retrofit solution to measure domestic hot water flow rates in pipes.