Stable Galerkin Finite Element Formulation for the Simulation of Electromagnetic Flowmeter
Abstract
Electromagnetic flow meters are simple, rugged, noninvasive flow measuring instruments, which are extensively employed in many applications. In particular, they are ideally suited for the flow rate measurement of liquid metals, which serve as coolants in fast breeder reactors. In such applications, theoretical evaluation of the sensitivity turns out to be the best possible choice. Invariably, an evaluation of the associated electromagnetic fields forms the first step. However, due to the complexity of the problem, only numerical field computational approach would be feasible. In the pertinent literature, couple of e orts could be found which employ the wellknown Galerkin Finite Element Method (GFEM) for the required task. However, GFEM is known to suffer from the numerical stability problem even at moderate flow rates. This problem is quite common in fluid dynamics area and several stabilization schemes have been suggested as a remedial measure. Among such schemes, the Streamline Upwinding Petrov Galerkin (SU/PG) method is a simple and widely employed approach. The same has been adopted in some of the moving conductor literatures for obtaining a stable solution.
Nevertheless, in fluid dynamics literature, it has been shown that the SU/PG solution can suffer from distortion/peaking at the boundary. The remedial measures proposed are nonlinear in nature and hence are computationally demanding. Also, even the SU/PG scheme by itself requires significant additional computation for quadratic and higher order elements. Further, the value of stabilization parameter is not accurately known for 2D and 3D problems.
The present work is basically an attempt to address the above problem for flow meter and other rectilinearly moving conductor problems. More specifically, but for the requirement of (graded) structured mesh along the flow direction, it basically aims to address a more general class of problems not just limited to the flow meter.
Following the classical approach employed in fluid dynamics literature, first the problem is studied in its 1D form. It was observed that a relatively better performance of GFEM over FDM scheme is basically due to the difference in their Right Hand Side (RHS) terms, which represents the applied magnetic field. Taking clue from this, it was envisaged that a better insight to the numerical problem can be obtained by using the control system theory's transfer function approach.
An application of FDM or GFEM to the 1D form of the governing equation, leads to flalgebraic equations with space variable in discrete form. Hence, a Ztransform based approach is employed to relate the applied magnetic field to the vector potential of the resulting reaction magnetic field. It is then shown that the presence of a pole at Z = 1 is basically responsible for the oscillations in the numerical solution.
It is then proposed that by using the control systems polezero cancellation principle, stability can be brought into the numerical solution. This requires suitable modification of RHS terms in the discretised equations and accordingly, two novel schemes have been proposed which works within the framework of GFEM. In author's considered opinion, the use of Ztransform for analysing the stability of the numerical schemes and the idea of employing polezero cancellation to bring in stability, are first of its kind.
In the first of the proposed schemes, the polezero cancellation is achieved by simply restating the input magnetic field in terms its vector potential. Solving the difference equations given by the application of FDM or GFEM to 1D version of the governing equation, it is analytically shown that the proposed scheme is absolutely stable at high flow rates. However, at midrange of flow rates there is a small error, which is analytically quantified.
Then the scheme is applied to the original flow meter problem which has only axially varying applied field and the stability is demonstrated for an extensive range of flow rates. Note that the discretisation along the flow direction was restricted in the above exercise to graded regular mesh, which can readily be realised for problems involving rectilinearly moving conductors.
In order to cater for more general cases in which the applied field varies in both axial and transverse directions, a second scheme is developed. Here the RHS term representing the input magnetic field is considered in a generic weighted average form. The required weights are evaluated by imposing apart from the need for an essential zero yielding term, the flux preservation and other symmetry conditions. The stability of this scheme is proven analytically for both 1D and 2D version of the problem using respectively, the 1D and 2D Ztransform based approaches. The analytical inferences are adequately validated with numerical exercises. Also, the small error present for the midrange of flow rates is analytically quantified. Then the second scheme is applied to the actual flow meter with a general magnetic field pro le. The proposed scheme is shown to be very stable and accurate even at very high flow rates. As before, the discretisation was restricted to graded regular mesh along the flow direction.
By solving for the standard TEAM No. 9 benchmark problem, applicability of the second scheme for other rectilinearly moving conductor problem has been adequately demonstrated.
Even though the problems considered in this work readily permits the use of a graded regular mesh along the flow direction, for the sake of completeness, discretisation with arbitrary quadrilateral and triangular mesh is also considered. The performance of the proposed schemes for such cases even though found to deteriorate, is still shown to be considerably better than the GFEM.
In summary, this work has successfully proposed two novel, computationally effcient and stable GFEM schemes for the simulation of electromagnetic flow meters and other rectilin early moving conductor problems.
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