Contact-free measurement of the flow field of a liquid metal inside a closed container

The measurement of flow velocities inside metal melts is particularly challenging. Due to the high temperatures of the melts it is impossible to employ measurement techniques that require either mechanical contact with the melt or are only adaptable to translucent fluids. In the past years a number of electromagnetic techniques have been developed that allows a contact-free measurement of volume flows. One of these techniques is the so-called Lorentz Force Velocimetry (LFV) in which the metal flow is exposed to an external, permanent magnetic field. The interaction between the metal and the magnet not only leads to a force on the fluid, but also on the magnet. The force can be measured and is proportional to the velocity of the melt. Moreover, by using a small permanent magnet it is possible to resolve spatial structures inside the flow.We will demonstrate this using a model experiment that has been investigated with different reference techniques previously. The experimental setup is a cylindrical vessel filled with a eutectic alloy which is liquid at room temperature. The liquid metal can be set into motion by means of a propeller at the top of the liquid. Depending on the direction of rotation of the propeller, the flow inside the vessel takes on different states. Beside the vessel, we place a Lorentz Force Flowmeter (LFF) equipped with a small permanent magnet. By measuring the force on the magnet at different positions and different rotation speeds, we demonstrate that we can qualitatively and quantitatively reconstruct the flow field inside the vessel.


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