Calibration Procedures for Rotating Lorentz-Force Flowmeters: Non-Contact Flow Measurement for Electrically Conductive Fluids

Web Published:

 Princeton Docket # 17-3301


Measuring the flowrate of extremely high-temperature or chemically aggressive fluids is a challenge faced by a variety of different industrial processes (e.g. metal casting, nuclear power, concentrated solar power, chemical production, etc.). Rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters (RLFFs) are non-contact devices that can operate within these systems by measuring subtle changes of the Lorentz-force produced by the flowing liquid.  (The Lorentz-force is generated when the fluid flows across a magnetic field produced by the RLFF.). Traditionally, calibrating these flowmeters has been challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. However, researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed simple calibration procedures that eliminate the need for calibration equipment, numerical modeling, or redundant flowmeters.


A RLFF has many advantages over currently available flow-monitoring systems. Because RLFFs are installed outside pipe/tubes, there is no system downtime required for installation or calibration. The calibration procedure can be done with or without a valve or other device to restrict flow and knowledge of fluid properties is not required. Unlike proxy or numerical modeling, this method empirically calibrates the device in-place, minimizing error associated with placement over the pipe and bearing friction. This technology is very cost effective, and is immediately applicable to any system that uses electrically conductive liquids.



•       Calibration of rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters

•       Measure velocity of electrically conductive liquids used in:

o  Casting industries (tin, aluminum, steel, etc.)

o  Energy production (liquid-metal nuclear reactors, concentrated solar power, fusion energy research, thermal energy storage, etc.)

o   Chemical industries (acids, caustics, seawater, waste-water, etc.)

o   Pharmaceutical Industry (any buffered solutions where sterility is essential)



•       No need for secondary or redundant calibration equipment.

•       Flowmeters are installed and calibrated outside pipe/tubes so there is no system downtime.

•       Can work in extreme high-temperature systems filled with chemically aggressive fluids.

•       Process knowledge is not required for calibration.  Operators do not need to know flow rates, fluid properties, or even fluid identity prior to calibration.

•       Analytical solutions generated by the calibration procedure allow for simple, real-time flowmeter corrections if operating conditions change. (No proprietary software.)



Stage of Development

These calibration methods have been fully validated at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.


Hvasta, M. G., Slighton, N. T., Kolemen, E., & Fisher, A. E. (2017). Experimental calibration procedures for rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters. Measurement Science and Technology, 28(8), 85901.



Michael Hvasta is a research engineer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.  His work focuses on thermal-hydraulic research and the development of new technologies for liquid-metal systems.  Currently, he works at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory developing liquid-metal plasma facing components for next-generation fusion reactors.  Prior to working at Princeton University he worked at Argonne National Laboratory where was responsible for the design and construction of a high-temperature sodium facility used to test components for Gen-IV nuclear reactors.  Hvasta received his BS in Physics from The College of New Jersey in 2004.  He received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering / Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory           

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a United States Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL is collaborative national center for fusion energy research. The Laboratory advances the coupled fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research, and, with collaborators, is developing the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world. An associated mission is providing the highest quality of scientific education.


Intellectual Property & Development Status

Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.



Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579  •


John Ritter

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-1570 •

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Michael Hvasta