REF 50/11

2
INTRODUCTION
relative sizes may have been altered
to show necessary details.
All the advice in this manual concerns
the setting up of SKC equipment and
does not intend to instruct you on the
sampling strategy you adopt in the work
place
Bubble film calibrators are very
accurate devices using a first principal
method of flow measurement. Normally
accurate to around + 2% over their
entire range. They are particularly
suited to low flow calibration
IncIuded are the foIIowing sections.
This booklet is designed to introduce
you to the basic principles of air
sampling methods using SKC
equipment.
All sketches showing equipment are not
offered as accurate drawings and their
INTRODUCTION
PUBLISHED BY SKC LTD.
Written by: Gerry Rogers.
Illustrations by: Gerry Rogers
© Copyright 1997 SKC Ltd.
Printed in the UK
915 ELECTRONIC
5-5000 mI/min
303 MANUAL
5-500 mI/min
A. THE MANUAL FILM CALIBRATOR
B. 915S & 918S ELECTRONIC FILM CALIBRATOR
C. 916S ELECTRONIC FILM CALIBRATOR
D. CALIBRATING A ROTAMETER
E. TROUBLE SHOOTING
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
If we look at the principal of operation
there is no difference between the
manual and electronic version of the
calibrators, both work by timing a
bubble between two set points of a
glass tube. When using a manual
device the bubble is timed between two
graduation marks using a stop watch
and judging the point at which the
bubble passes a mark by the naked
eye. The electronic version uses optical
emitters and sensors to detect and time,
the bubble between the two set points
The time is integrated into a reading of
the flow which is displayed in millilitres
per minute on the LCD.
When using a manual calibrator the
reaction time of the person using the
stop watch is a source of error. The
normal reaction time of a person is
around 1/5th of a second, and during a
measurement this error happens twice-
once at the start mark and once at the
finish mark. To reduce the error of a
manual system the travel time of any
one bubble must be long enough
(typically 10 seconds or more) to reduce
the reaction times to a very low
percentage of the overall time. This
possible error explains why manual
systems that measure high flow (e.g. 2
litres per minute) are physically large.
The model 303 shown in the above
photograph has a volume of 100
millilitres, which with a flow of 2 litres
per minute would mean the travel time
of a bubble would be 3 seconds.
Electronic versions, however, have a
reaction time measured in milliseconds
thus eliminating these errors. They also
are extremely accurate in the
measurement of the travel time of the
bubble, even if it is less than 0.5 of a
second. It is due to the reliability and
accuracy of the timer in electronic
calibrators that a much wider flow range
can be measured.
3
A WORD OF WARNING
The soap soIution suppIied with fiIm caIibrators is NOT just a mix of detergent and water. FormuIated at the optimum
concentration to ensure reIiabIe bubbIe formation it aIso incIudes uItra high purity water and defungicides. Use of
commerciaIIy avaiIabIe soaps/detergents and tap water WILL adverseIy affect the instrument and its accuracy. If
tap water is used a miIky fiIm wiII appear on the inside of the gIass tube after a number of uses. The onIy way to get
over this probIem correctIy is by repIacing the gIass and recaIibration. The bottIe of soap soIution suppIied with
each unit shouId normaIIy Iast for many years.
A. 300 SERIES MANUAL FILM CALIBRATORS
GIass tube
SoIution weII
Rubber buIb
Air inIet
Rubber bung
Graduations
BubbIe
Stand
To sampIe media and
pump
Units of voIume
PLEASE READ THIS:
There is nothing worse than not being
able to get a new instrument to work
properly, it's frustrating and leaves you
thinking about the decision you have
made.
The following instructions have been
compiled after consultation with people
who have run into initial problems with
this type of technology. By far the most
common cause of frustration is due
solely to being too aggressive when
forming a bubble. For full operating
instructions. Please refer to the
handbook supplied with each calibrator
1. With the calibrator in front of you
remove the rubber bung by lifting
upward. Do not rock the bung from side
to side as this can break the glass tube.
2. Filling the calibrator. This is normally
where problems can arise. You need to
ensure the rubber bulb is full of solution
and all the air is removed. Squeeze the
bulb to the smallest size possible and
gently start filling the unit from the top
of the glass tube with solution. As the
level of the solution increases release
the bulb slowly, sucking the solution into
it at the same time. The idea is that the
bulb becomes full with no air included.
3. Continue filling and at the same time
releasing pressure on the bulb until the
solution level is just below the air inlet
tube with the bulb fully released.
Expel any remaining air by GENTLY
squeezing the bulb. If the solution level
has now dropped, refill to correct level.
Continue to do this procedure until no
more air is present. Don't forget to
repIace the rubber bung into the top
of the tube.
4. During this operation, especially if the
bulb is squeezed too vigorously, froth
may have formed on the surface of the
solution. If this is the case, leave the
calibrator for a short time to allow the
solution to revert to a liquid state.
NOTE: The elimination of froth gets
over 90% of the common problems with
first time use of a film calibrator.
!
"
303 FiIm
CaIibrator
4
5. Once the correct level of solution has
been obtained and no froth is present
a trial run can be started. Connect from
the pump/sampling train to the pipe that
is fitted to the rubber bung at the top of
the glass tube. It is important to ensure
no film solution is carried over into the
pump, so check the pipe is empty of
solution first.
#
6. Switch on the pump and VERY
GENTLY squeeze the rubber bulb once.
A jab or poke of the bulb will inevitably
create froth or multiple bubbles. As the
solution comes up to the bottom of the
glass tube a bubble should form. This
make take a few seconds at very low
flows e.g. 5 - 20 ml/min, so please be
patient. If after a few seconds no bubble
is seen try another gentle squeeze of
the bulb.
7. The first bubble WILL NOT travel up
the glass tube very far before it bursts.
The reason for this is that the internal
walls of the glass tube are dry, and need
to be wet. Keep forming bubbles until
a full travel of the glass tube is
accomplished. Do not position the
calibrator where the sun can shine
directly onto the glass tube, as this
produces a dry 'line' at the back of the
tube and inhibits bubble travel. If the
calibrator has been over filled bubbles
will self form without squeezing the
rubber bulb. Carefully remove some
solution until the self forming of bubbles
stops.
$
8. A flow reading can now be taken by
casting a bubble and timing with a stop
watch between the graduation lines.
Using either the chart or formula
included in the calibrator instructions
the flow can now be worked out. An
average of at least three bubbles should
be taken to obtain a true reading.
As an example if a bubble takes one
minute to travel between the 0 and 100
millilitre mark the flow would be 100 ml/
min. If it took thirty seconds, the flow
would be 200 ml/min. Various
graduations are provided which allows
for different flows to be measured
without the need to wait for a bubble to
travel the full distance between the top
and bottom graduation.
&
300 SERIES MANUAL FILM CALIBRATORS
5
B. 915S & 918S ELECTRONIC FILM CALIBRATORS
There are three models of electronic calibrators in the SKC range:
915S 5-5000 ml/min with button operated bubble formation
916S 5-5000 ml/min with lever operated bubble formation
918S 100-10000 ml/mim with button operated bubble formation
All of the above instruments work on the same principal of electronically timing a bubble within a glass tube. The
difference between the 915S,918S and the 916S is the mechanism used to form a bubble, i.e. Button or lever.
For 915S and 918S Button operated
units.
1. With the calibrator in front of you
remove the rubber bung by lifting
upward. Do not rock the bung from side
to side as this can break the glass tube.
2. Filling the calibrator. This is normally
where problems can arise. You need to
ensure the rubber bulb is full of solution
and all the air is removed. Start by
turning the level adjustment knob fully
clockwise. This squeezes the rubber
bulb contained inside the instrument to
its smallest size. Gently start filling the
unit from the top of the glass tube with
solution. As the level of the solution
increases release the bulb slowly, (by
unscrewing the level adjustment knob)
therefore sucking the solution into it at
the same time. The idea is that the bulb
becomes full with no air included.
BE VERY CAREFUL not to let any
solution run down the outside surface
of the glass measuring tube. It this does
happen it is likely that the solution will
interfere with the sensors which can
only be overcome by allowing it to dry
out overnight.
Rubber bung
GIass
measuring
tube
LeveI
adjustment
screw
BubbIe
formation
button
Reset
button
On
button
Off button
LCD
Tube to catch pot
4. During this operation, froth may have
formed on the surface of the solution. If
this is the case, leave the calibrator for
a short time to allow the solution to
revert to a liquid state.
NOTE: The elimination of froth gets
over 90% of the common problems with
first time use of a film calibrator.
LeveI adjustment
screw
Inner
gIass
tube
3. Continue filling and at the same time
releasing pressure on the bulb until the
solution level is just below the inner
glass tube, with the bulb fully released.
Expel any remaining air by turning the
level adjustment screw. If the solution
level has now dropped, refill to correct
level. Continue to do this procedure
until no more air is present. Don't
forget to repIace the rubber bung
into the top of the tube.
!
"
6
5. Once the correct level of solution has
been obtained and no froth is present
a trial run can be tried. Connect from
the pump/sampling train to the free
pipe that comes from the catch pot.
The remaining free pipe that comes
from the back cover of the calibrator is
the air inlet and of no use for vacuum
applications. It should not be blocked
in any way
Catch
pot
6. Switch on the pump and VERY
GENTLY push the bubble formation
button once. A jab or poke of the button
will inevitably create froth or multiple
bubbles. As the solution comes up to
the bottom of the glass tube a bubble
should form. This may take a few
seconds at very low flows e.g. 5 - 20
ml/min, so please be patient. If after a
few seconds no bubble is seen try
another gentle push of the button. At
higher flows of 750 ml/min a single
push may produce a number of bubbles
at one time. Practice will allow
confidence to produce a single bubble
at the higher flows.
If two bubbles are formed (one after the
other) don't worry as the instruments
only sees the first one.
7. The first bubble WILL NOT travel up
the glass tube very far before it bursts.
The reason for this is that the internal
walls of the glass tube are dry, and need
to be wet. Keep forming bubbles until
a full travel of the glass tube is
accomplished. Do not position the
calibrator where the sun can shine
directly on to the glass tube, as this
produces a dry 'line' at the back of the
tube and inhibits bubble travel. If the
calibrator has been over filled, bubbles
will self form without pushing the button.
To overcome self bubbling leave
connected to a running pump at a
reasonably high flow e.g. 2 l/min as this
will carry over the excess solution to the
catch pot. IMPORTANT. When not
using or transporting the calibrator join
the ends of both free pipe to each other
with a short length of plastic or metal.
This will prevent spillage of solution and
stop any evaporation.
Join
here
%
$
#
915S & 918S ELECTRONIC FILM CALIBRATORS
Air inIet pipe
Free pipe from catch pot
7
C. 916S ELECTRONIC FILM CALIBRATOR
For 916S Lever operated units.
The top of the range 916S benefits from
lever operation to form bubbles. This
removes the need to become
accustomed to how long and how hard
to push the button on the other types of
calibrator, and ensures only one bubble
at a time is produced. The solution
chamber and lever mechanism have
been carefully designed to ensure no
volume change during operation, an
important point others seem to have
missed.
BubbIe breaker
GIass
measuring
tube
BubbIe
formation
Iever
Reset
button
On
button
Off button
LCD
Tube to catch pot
SoIution weII
& BubbIe ring
3. Moving the bubble formation lever
either upwards or downwards will
produce a single bubble. Only move the
lever in one direction at a time.
Remember the glass tube will have to
be 'wet' before a bubble with travel the
full distance.
PLEASE READ section B as all of the
points contained in that section are
relevant to this model with the exception
of where to fill the solution and actual
bubble formation.
1. The 916S does not have a rubber
stopper or any way of accessing the
glass tube directly. Under no
circumstances try to remove the top
chamber, or tube from the top chamber
of this instrument for filling purposes.
FiIIing spout
2. To fill with solution, remove the filling
spout cap and with the nozzle of the
solution bottle slowly fill until a level just
below the inner glass tube is reached.
Replace filling spout cap. The level is
not so critical in this model as the
bubble ring effectively brings the
solution up to the inner glass tube.

!
FiIIing spout
FiIIing spout cap
8
Q. I get Error 2,4 or 6 on the LCD display.
A. The most common cause of this message is that the calibrator is in direct sunlight. Remove the unit to a shaded area. Direct
sunlight will make the sensors think they are in a permanently ON mode. If problem persists please refer to the manual.
Q. I get Error 3, 5 or 7 on the LCD display.
A. This indicates froth or dirt in the glass tube. Try switching the instrument OFF and ON a few times. If this fails to clear the
Error refer to manual for cleaning procedures.
Q. I press the bulb but can't get a bubble to form?
A. Solution level is too low or bung has not been replaced. At low flows bubbles will take a time to form and become apparent.
Q. Do I have to remove the solution after use?
A. NO, but be careful to keep the unit in an upright position especially when travelling. If the solution leaks into the computer
repair costs can be high. By nature soap solutions are corrosive. See section 7 page 6.
Q. I always get froth in the tube
A. There is probably air in the rubber bulb. Read sections 2 & 3 page 2. Try overfilling slightly and allowing bubbles to self form
until correct level is found.
Q. The catch pot (if fitted) is getting full. Do I have to throw away the solution?
A. No. Remove the catch pot and pull out one of the tubes. Empty into a container or solution bottle. The tube must be refitted
with an air tight seal so make sure it is through the lid correctly. If the lid is removed ensure the O ring is not removed or lost,
and in place when the lid is refitted.
Q. Is there any reason the unit is angled backwards?
A. Yes, to encourage any froth or small bubbles that are being carried by a full bubble, to the back of the glass tube and away
from the line of the sensors.
Q. When measuring low flows do I have to wait for the bubble to clear the tube before I form another one?
A. No. Once a reading has been shown on the LCD another bubble can be formed straight away.
Q. When measuring low flows the bubble does not seem to form
A. At low flows the bubble may take several seconds to become apparent and appear from the surface of the solution.
Repeatedly pressing the bulb/button will produce either froth or multiple bubbles. Press once and wait for a short while.
E. TROUBLE SHOOTING
D. CALIBRATING A ROTAMETER
BS 6538:Part 2:1985 relates to calibration of VAF (rotameters) using soap film principals. Everyday use of rotameters can affect
their accuracy. A common use of the electronic calibrators is to check/recalibrate other types of flow measuring devices.
1. The electronic calibrator is used in
series with a rotameter. NOTE: Bubble
film calibrators have virtually zero back
pressure/resistance.
2. The flow displayed on the electronic unit
will indicate the accuracy or inaccuracy
of the rotameter reading.
e.g. The electronic unit shows 2000 ml/
min but the rotameter shows 2100 ml/min.
Rotameters graduations are fixed and
therefore can not be changed to take into
account any slight differences.
3. After checking at several points over
the rotameters range a correction graph
can be drawn.
The addition of a needle valve as part of
the rotameter does allow for adjustments
to be made to the height of the float in
accordance with the flow indicated on the
electronic unit. Once set, the valve must
be protected from being changed.
Inlet to
atmosphere
Rotameter
Electronic calibrator
Pump/flow source
KEEP ALL PIPES AS STRAIGHT AND SHORT AS POSSIBLE