We show that the performances of flowmeters based on the measurement of Lorentz force in duct flows can be sufficiently optimized to be applied to fluids of low electrical conductivity. The main technological challenge is to design a system with permanent magnets generating a strong enough field for the Lorentz force generated when a fluid of low conductivity passes through it to be reliably measured. To achieve this, we optimize the design of a magnet system based on Halbach arrays placed on either side of the duct. In the process, we show that the fluid flow can be approximated as a moving solid bar with practically no impact on the optimization result and devise a rather general iterative optimization procedure, which incurs drastically less computational cost than a direct procedure of equivalent precision. We show that both the Lorentz force and the efficiency of the system (defined as the ratio of the Lorentz force to the weight of the system) can be increased several fold by using Halbach arrays made of three, five, seven or nine magnets on either side of the duct but that this improvement comes at a cost in terms of the precision required to position the system.
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- Lorentz force velocimetry
- low conductivity fluids
- optimal magnet configurations