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Introduction..................................................................................................................................................... 1

What is Pressure? ........................................................................................................................................... 1


The Pressure Equation..................................................................................................................................... 2
Pressure Variables........................................................................................................................................... 4
Hydrostatic Pressure ................................................................................................................................ 4
Level of a Liquid................................................................................................................................ 4
Density of a Liquid ............................................................................................................................ 5
Pressure on the Surface of a Liquid .................................................................................................. 5
Gas Pressure............................................................................................................................................. 7
Container Volume.............................................................................................................................. 7
Temperature of a Gas........................................................................................................................ 7

Why Measure Pressure? ................................................................................................................................. 9


Safety......................................................................................................................................................... 10
Process Efficiency..................................................................................................................................... 10
Cost Savings ............................................................................................................................................. 10
Inferred Measurement of Other Variables ............................................................................................... 11

Pressure Terminology ..................................................................................................................................... 12


Pressure Units.................................................................................................................................................. 13
Units of Force Over Area ......................................................................................................................... 13
Units Referenced to Columns of Fluid...................................................................................................... 13
Converting Units of Pressure ................................................................................................................... 15
Reference Pressures.........................................................................................................................................16
Absolute Pressure .....................................................................................................................................16
Gauge Pressure ........................................................................................................................................17
Differential Pressure ................................................................................................................................17
Designating Reference Pressures .............................................................................................................19
Converting Absolute Pressure Measurements...................................................................................19
Measurable Pressures.................................................................................................................................... 21
Head Pressure ........................................................................................................................................ 21
Static Pressure ........................................................................................................................................ 22
Vapor Pressure ....................................................................................................................................... 22

Inferring Nonpressure Variables ...................................................................................................................... 24


Inferring Nonpressure Variables .....................................................................................................................25
Flow ..........................................................................................................................................................25
Level..........................................................................................................................................................26
Density Measurement ...............................................................................................................................27
Interface Measurement .............................................................................................................................27

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© August 2003 For Internal Use Only
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Pressure Measurement and Control ..............................................................................................................29
Pressure Gauges ..............................................................................................................................................30
Liquid Column Gauges .............................................................................................................................30
Barometer ..........................................................................................................................................30
Manometer.........................................................................................................................................31
Mechanical Pressure Gauges ...................................................................................................................32
Bourdon Tube ....................................................................................................................................32
Bellows and Capsules........................................................................................................................34
Pneumatic Pressure Cells ................................................................................................................................35
Pneumatic Controllers..............................................................................................................................35
Pneumatic Transmitters............................................................................................................................37
Electronic Pressure Transmitters .................................................................................................................. 38
Variable Capacitance ............................................................................................................................. 38
Piezoresistance ....................................................................................................................................... 41
Piezoelectric ........................................................................................................................................... 42
Variable Inductance................................................................................................................................42
Variable Reluctance................................................................................................................................43
Vibrating Wire ........................................................................................................................................43
Strain Gauge...........................................................................................................................................44

Workbook Exercise ...................................................................................................................................... 45


Workbook Exercise - Answers ................................................................................................................... 54
Activity Answers .......................................................................................................................................... 55

Page iii Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © August 2003
Introduction

 
Accurate measurement of liquid, gas, and steam pressure is a basic requirement for many industrial
processes to operate safely, efficiently, and with optimum quality control. Many plants have more
pressure-measurement and control devices in use than all other types of measurement and control
instruments combined.
Some pressure-measurement devices use complex technology, while others are quite simple. The
accuracy and precision of the different pressure-measurement instruments also varies widely. This
module introduces you to the basic principles of pressure measurement and explains the benefits of
accurate pressure measurement and control in process industries. In addition, descriptions of the
different pressure-measurement and control devices available will be presented.
This module contains the following sections:
 What is Pressure?
 Why Measure Pressure?
 Pressure Terminology
 Inferring Nonpressure Variables
 Pressure Measurement and Control

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE
After you have completed this module, you will understand and be able to explain the basis upon
which pressure-measurement products are differentiated in the process control industry.

Pressure Measurement Page iv


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
What is Pressure?

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Before learning about pressure measurement, it is necessary to understand precisely what pressure is.
This section describes the basic principles of pressure.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After you have completed this section, you will be able to:
T Define pressure
T Explain how changes in force and in the area over which force is applied affect pressure
T Explain how level, density, and pressure on the surface of the liquid affect the pressure of a liquid
T Explain how container volume and temperature affect the pressure of a gas

Note: To answer the activity questions the Hand Tool (H) should be activated.

Pressure Measurement Page 1


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
What is Pressure?

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Pressure is the amount of force applied over a defined area. $FWLYLWLHV
The relationship between pressure, force, and area is
represented in the following formula: 1. What is the definition of pressure?

F
P = ---- 1 Density that acts on a defined area
A
2 Mass that acts on a defined area
Where: 3 Volume applied over a defined area
T P = Pressure
4 Force applied over a defined area
T F = Force
T A = Area
If a force (due to physical contact) is applied over an area,
pressure is being applied. Pressure increases if the force
increases or the size of the area over which the force is being
applied decreases.
Weight X and Weight Y in Figure 1.1 are applying different
amounts of pressure to the surface, even though the two
weights are each 100 lb. Weight X has a base of 100 in2.
Therefore, the pressure being applied by Weight X is 100 lb of
force being applied over an area of 100 in2, or 1 lb/in2. 2. Increasing the surface area over which
a force is applied results in an increase
in pressure. Is this statement true or false?
100 lb 2
Pressure = -------------------2- = 1 lb ⁄ in
100 in

Weight Y is resting on a 1 in2 base. Therefore, the pressure


being applied by Weight Y is 100 lb of force being applied over
an area of 1 in2, or 100 lb/in2.

100 lb 2
Pressure = -----------------
2
= 100 lb ⁄ in
1 in

1 in2 100 in2


Weight X Weight Y
P = 1 lb/in2 P = 100 lb/in2
F = 100 lb F = 100 lb
A = 100 in2 A = 1 in2

100 in2 1 in2


100 lb WEIGHT X 100 lb WEIGHT Y

Figure 1.1: Force Over Area

Page 2 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
What is Pressure?

7KH3UHVVXUH(TXDWLRQ
To better understand the relationship between force and area, $FWLYLWLHV
think about the impact of your weight on a couch. The force in
this case is produced by your weight, which, in this example,
will remain constant. If you lie down on the couch, your weight
is applied over a large area and the cushions compress to a
certain degree. If you stand on the couch on one foot, your
weight is applied to a much smaller area and the cushions
compress much more. The force (your weight) is now being
applied over a smaller area—therefore the pressure is
increased.

Pressure Measurement Page 3


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
What is Pressure?

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The factors that influence the pressure of a liquid are different $FWLYLWLHV
from the factors that influence the pressure of a gas. Therefore,
when measuring pressure, it is important to understand the 3. Which are the factors that will influence
properties of liquids and gases. the measurement of pressure exerted by
a liquid?
Select all options that apply.
HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE (HEAD)
The pressure exerted by a liquid is influenced by three factors: 1 Depth
T Level of the liquid 2 Pressure on the surface
T Density of the liquid 3 Conductivity
T Pressure on the surface of the liquid (vapor space) 4 Density
5 Di-electric
Level of a Liquid
The pressure at the bottom of the column of liquid increases as
the depth of the liquid increases. Pressure is affected by the
height, rather than the volume, of a liquid. If other factors (e.g.,
density of the liquid and pressure on the surface of the liquid)
are constant, the pressure at the bottom of a 10 ft. water level in
a larger tank will be equal to the pressure at the bottom of a 10
ft. water level in a smaller tank.
4. The pressure at the bottom of a glass of
water increases as the glass is filled. Is
this statement true or false?

10 ft

5 gal of water

20 gal of water
Pressure gauge

10 in H O 10 in H O
2 2

Because the hydrostatic pressure is directly


proportional to the height (i.e., level) of the liquid,
pressure measurements can be used to infer level.

An example from everyday life might be your experience of


swimming five feet beneath the surface of a swimming pool
and swimming five feet beneath the surface of a large lake.
Even though the lake contains a far greater amount of water,

Page 4 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
What is Pressure?

3UHVVXUH9DULDEOHV
the pressure on your body at a five foot depth is not $FWLYLWLHV
proportionately greater. The pressure in the lake and in the pool
is the same at a depth of five feet. 5. Density is the ______________ of a
particular substance per unit of _______.
Density of a Liquid .
Density is the mass of a particular substance per unit of
volume. A liquid with a greater density has more mass per unit
of volume. Liquids with greater density will produce greater
hydrostatic pressure (head) than liquids with lower density.
Density = Mass / Volume
Variations in temperature cause liquids to expand and contract,
which increases or decreases the volume of the liquid, and thus
the density. That is why densities are typically shown at a
reference temperature.
Density is often represented in terms of specific gravity.
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a particular liquid 6. Specific gravity is a ratio of the density
to the density of water at a reference temperature. of a particular liquid to the density of water
at the same temperature. Is this statement
Water has a density of 1,000 kg/m3 at 50 °F (10 °C).
true or false?
Temperature is specified when giving a density value because
temperature affects density. The density of gasoline is
660 kg/m3 at 50 °F (10 °C). To calculate the specific gravity
of gasoline, divide the density of gasoline by the density of
water:

3
660 kg ⁄ m
-------------------------------- = 0.66
3
,
1000 kg ⁄ m

Because specific gravity is a ratio of densities, it does not


change as units of measure change. Therefore, the specific
gravity of gasoline at 60 °F (15.6 °C) is always 0.66, even if
the density of gasoline and the density of water are expressed 7. Pressure applied to the surface of a liquid
in a different unit of measure (e.g., lb/ft3): has no effect on the pressure beneath the
3 surface. Is this statement true or false?
41.2038 lb ⁄ ft
--------------------------------------
3
- = 0.66
62.43 lb ⁄ ft
So now we can infer the level of liquid with a density and
height measurement.
Pressure on the Surface of a Liquid
Pressure on the surface of a liquid is pressure that is exerted
above a column of liquid being measured. In an open tank,
atmospheric pressure (the pressure exerted by the Earth’s
atmosphere) is the pressure on the surface. If a gas is added to

Pressure Measurement Page 5


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
What is Pressure?

3UHVVXUH9DULDEOHV
the top of a column of liquid in a closed tank, pressure on the $FWLYLWLHV
surface would result. If there is a vacuum above the liquid in a
closed tank, a pressure less than atmospheric pressure will exist
on the surface. In a closed-tank application, the pressure
on the surface (vapor space) is often referred to as top
pressure. The effects of pressure on the surface must be taken
into account to produce an accurate pressure measurement.
Pressure on the surface is often measured and
subtracted from the pressure at the point of
measurement to determine liquid pressure,
particularly in level applications.

Page 6 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
What is Pressure?

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GAS PRESSURE $FWLYLWLHV
Unlike a liquid, a gas will exert equal pressure on all parts of 8. In a tank filled with gas, the pressure
the container in which it is held. Two factors affect the pressure at the bottom is ______________
exerted by a gas: the pressure at the top.
T Volume of the container in which the gas is held
T Temperature of the gas
1 greater than
Common practice in process industries is to refer to both 2 smaller than
liquids and gases as fluids. 3 equal to

Container Volume
The relationship between the pressure exerted by a gas and the
volume of the container in which it is held is known as Boyle’s
law. Because a gas can be compressed, the pressure of a gas
increases proportionately as the volume of the container in
which the gas is held decreases. Conversely, if a set amount of 9. The contents of a tank holding 20m 3
gas is transferred to a larger container, the pressure will of gas are transferred to a tank with
decrease in proportion to the increase in container volume. | double the capacity, all other factors remain
V1*P1 = V2*P2 unchanged. What will happen to the
gas pressure?
Temperature of a Gas
The relationship between gas pressure and temperature is
1 The pressure will be doubled.
known as Charles’s law. Gas pressure is affected by changes in
2 The pressure will be reduced to half.
temperature. As the temperature of a gas increases, the energy
3 The pressure will remain unchanged.
of the individual gas molecules increases as well. As a result,
4 The pressure will increase marginally.
the gas molecules collide with the vessel wall more frequently
and with greater force, and the pressure exerted against the
inside wall of the vessel increases.
If the volume of the vessel holding a gas and the amount of gas
are unchanged, the pressure exerted by the gas on the vessel
walls will change in proportion to changes in the temperature
of the gas.
V1T1 = V2T2

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For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
What is Pressure?

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$FWLYLWLHV
10. A tank containing 20m3 of gas is
heated, while all other factors remain
unchanged. What will happen to the gas
pressure?

1 Pressure will increase as


temperature increases.
2 Pressure will decrease as
temperature increases.
3 Pressure will remain constant
despite temperature increases.
4 Pressure will decrease marginally.

COMPLETE WORKBOOK EXERCISE - WHAT IS PRESSURE?

Page 8 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Why Measure Pressure?

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Process industries measure pressure for several reasons, the most common of which are discussed in
this section.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE
After you have completed this section, you will be able to:
T List and briefly explain the four most common reasons for measuring pressure:
• Safety
• Process efficiency
• Cost savings
• Inferred measurement of other variables

Note: To answer the activity questions the Hand Tool (H) should be activated.

Pressure Measurement Page 9


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Why Measure Pressure?

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Process industries are organizations that transform one $FWLYLWLHV
substance into another (e.g., crude oil into gasoline, pulp into
paper, steam into electricity). Four of the most common 1. Why do process industries commonly
measure pressure?
reasons that process industries measure pressure follow:
Select all options that apply.
T Safety
T Process efficiency
1 Safety
T Cost savings
T Inferred measurement of other variables 2 Process efficiency
3 Inferred measurement of other
variables
SAFETY 4 Cost saving
Pipes, tanks, valves, flanges, and other equipment used with
pressurized fluids in process industries are designed to
withstand the stress of a specific range of pressures. Accurate
pressure measurement and precise control help prevent pipes
and vessels from bursting. In addition, pressure measurement
and control help minimize equipment damage, reduce the risk
of personal injury, and prevent leaks of potentially harmful
process materials into the environment. Pressure measurement
used to control the level and flow of process materials helps to
prevent backups, spills, and overflows.By monitoring the
pressure in the process, actions can be taken to prevent (or 2. Accurate pressure measurement helps
minimize) an environmental release or personell injury/ process industries save money by keeping
exposure. pumps, compressors, and other devices
used to create pressure or vacuum from
PROCESS EFFICIENCY being run unnecessarily. Is this statement
true or false?
In most cases, process efficiency is highest when pressures
(and other process variables) are controlled at particular values
or within a narrow range of values. Accurate pressure
measurement can help sustain the conditions required for
maximum efficiency. For example, the piece of paper on which
these words are written was created from a pulp solution put
through a paper machine at a specific pressure. If the pressure
had gone above or below the setpoint (required range), the
result would have been scrap instead of a usable sheet of
paper. Efficiency of a process is directly related to the quality
of the product being produced.

COST SAVINGS
The equipment used to create pressure or vacuum in process
industries (e.g., pumps and compressors) uses considerable
energy. Because energy costs money, precise pressure
measurement can save money by preventing the unnecessary

Page 10 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Why Measure Pressure?

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expense of creating more pressure or vacuum than is required $FWLYLWLHV
to produce the desired results for a particular process.The scrap
3. Which non-pressure process variables
in the above example also adds to unnecessary costs since it
can be determined from a pressure
now may need to be reworked (more energy is required) and measurement?
the overall output is reduced (lost production). Select all options that apply.
Therefore, quality is a sub-component of both process 1 Level
efficiency and cost savings. 2 Temperature
3 Flow
INFERRED MEASUREMENT OF OTHER VARIABLES 4 Density
5 Interface
Pressure measurements are frequently used to infer the
measurement of other process variables, such as the rate of
flow through a pipe, the level of a fluid in a tank, the density of
a substance, or how two or more liquids in a tank interface. For
example, if a constriction is placed in a pipe, pressure will drop
in a predictable way. By measuring the pressure of fluid in a
pipe before and after the constriction, the rate of flow through
the pipe can be calculated. For a discussion on how pressure
measurement can be used to infer the values of other process
variables, see Inferring Nonpressure Variables on page 28.

COMPLETE WORKBOOK EXERCISE - WHY MEASURE PRESSURE?

Pressure Measurement Page 11


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

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Pressure measurements can be expressed in several different units. Some units are more popular in one
part of the world than another. Some pressure-measurement units are more useful for one type of
application than another.
For a measurement to be useful, the reference point from which the measurement is being taken must
be known. For example, a measurement of three miles is meaningless unless we know where three
miles begin or start. Basic reference points of pressure measurement are introduced in this section,
along with descriptions of measurable pressures you will encounter in the field.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After you have completed this section, you will be able to:
T Recognize and explain the basis of the units used for pressure measurement
T Differentiate between the following three reference points of pressure measurement:
• Absolute
• Gauge
• Differential
T Differentiate between the following three measurable pressures:
• Head (hydrostatic) pressure
• Static (line) pressure
• Vapour pressure
Note: To answer the activity questions the Hand Tool (H) should be activated.

Pressure Measurement Page 12


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

3UHVVXUH8QLWV
Pressure units can be divided into two categories: units of force $FWLYLWLHV
over area and units referenced to columns of fluid.
1. What is the abbreviation for kilopascals?
UNITS OF FORCE OVER AREA
The following are units of force over a defined area: 1 KpA
T Pounds per square inch (psi) 2 kPa
T Kilograms per square centimeter (kg/cm2) 3 KPa
T Grams per square centimeter (g/cm2)—1 g/cm2 = 4 kpa
1/1,000 kg/cm2
T Pascals (Pa or N/m2)—N stands for newton
T Kilopascals (kPa)—1 kPa = 1,000 Pa
T Bar—1 bar = 100,000 Pa
T Millibar (mbar)—1 mbar = 1/1,000 bar

UNITS REFERENCED TO COLUMNS OF FLUID


The following are units of pressure referenced to a column of
fluid:
T Inches of water (inH2O at 68 °F [20 °C] or at 39.2 °F
[4°C])
T Feet of water (ftH2O)
T Meters of water (mH2O)
T Millimeters of water (mmH2O)
T Inches of mercury (inHg)
T Millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
T Atmosphere (atm)—The pressure exerted by the earth’s
atmosphere at sea level
T Torr—1 torr = 1 mmHg
Pressure units referenced to a column of fluid serve as a useful
measure of pressure, even though they do not represent a force
over a defined area. Because of gravity, a column of fluid will
exert a certain force (weight) downward and thus a certain
predictable pressure. The higher a column of fluid, the greater
the force exerted by that fluid. The more dense a fluid, the
greater the force exerted by that fluid. Units of measure must
have static values—therefore, fluid column height and fluid
density must be specified when representing pressure as a
column of fluid.

Page 13 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Terminology

3UHVVXUH8QLWV
1 in H2O is the amount of pressure applied by a one-inch $FWLYLWLHV
column of water at reference conditions. Because the 2. Why is temperature specified in inches
temperature is specified, the density will remain constant and of water pressure measurement units?
the measurement unit fixed.
Another commonly used fluid for pressure measurement is the
element mercury (Hg), often expressed as a pressure 1 Every pressure measurement unit
measurement in inches of mercury (inHg). 1 inHg is equal to has the temperature specified as a
the amount of pressure applied by a one-inch-high column of standard.
mercury with a density of 13.5951 g/cm3. Again, because 2 With the temperature specified, the
density is specified, the measurement unit remains fixed. volume is a known constant and the
the unit value will not fluctuate.
Millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is also used to express
pressure. 1 mmHg is the amount of pressure applied by a 1 mm 3 With the temperature specified, the
high column of mercury with a density of 13.5951 g/cm3. density is a known constant and the
unit value will not fluctuate.
Units of pressure can also be expressed in atmospheres (atm). 4 Every liquid application requires the
1 atm is equal to the pressure exerted by the earth’s atmosphere use of pressure measurement units
at sea level. 1 atm is equal to 101.325 kPa, or approximately with specified temperature.
14.6959 psi.
Torr is a unit of pressure based on atmosphere (1 torr equals
1/760 atm). One torr is approximately equal to1 mmHg.
Certain units of pressure are more suitable for certain
applications. For example, liquid column-based
measurements are preferred for level-measurement
applications.
3. Which of the following pressure
measurement units are referenced to a
Inches of water is typically used for smaller measurement and
psi for larger measurement. column of fluid?
Select all options that apply.

1 in H2O
2 psi
3 torr
4 in Hg
5 KPa
6 atm

Pressure Measurement Page 14


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

3UHVVXUH8QLWV
CONVERTING UNITS OF PRESSURE $FWLYLWLHV
Product literature (e.g., manuals, product data sheets, product 4. Refer to the table below and state
price lists) for each pressure measurement instrument lists the the value of 115 inH O when converted
2
pressure range within which that device can be effectively and into mbar.
safely operated. However, the pressure units used in the
product literature may not be the same as the units specified by
a customer for his or her application. Therefore, unit 1 270.94
conversions are often required to determine if a particular 2 280.94
pressure-measurement device will meet the requirements of a 3 285.94
customer’s application.
4 275.94
For example, imagine that a customer identifies 40 bar as the
maximum amount of pressure a particular process produces.
The customer wants to know what range instrument to use. The
product literature lists pressure ranges in psi, so a conversion
from bar to psi is necessary before a recommendation can be
made. Units of pressure can be converted using a conversion
table, such as the table below, that shows the relationships
between different units of pressure (e.g., how many bar equal
1 psi). To convert 40 bar to psi, look in the conversion table to
find that one bar equals 14.5038 psi. Because you need the psi
value of 40 bar, multiply 14.5038 by 40 to obtain a value of
580.151 psi. Now you can determine from the product
literature that a Range Code 5 instrument is needed.
Convert To

psi kPa inH2O mmH2O inHg mmHg bar mbar kg/cm2 gm/cm2

psi 1 6.8948 27.7296 704.332 2.0360 51.7149 0.0689 68.9476 0.0703 70.3070

kPa 0.1450 1 4.0218 102.155 0.2953 7.5006 0.0100 10.000 0.0102 10.197

inH2O 0.0361 0.2486 1 25.4000 0.0734 1.8650 0.0025 2.4864 0.0025 2.5355
Convert From

mmH2O 0.0014 0.0098 0.0394 1 0.0029 0.0734 0.0001 0.0979 0.00001 0.0998

inHg 0.0412 3.3864 13.6195 345.936 1 25.4000 0.0339 33.8639 0.0345 34.532

mmHg 0.0193 0.1333 0.5362 13.6195 0.0394 1 0.0013 1.3332 0.0014 1.3595

bar 14.5038 100.000 402.184 10215.5 29.5300 740.062 1 1000 1.0197 1019.72

mbar 0.0145 0.1000 0.4022 10.2155 0.0295 0.7501 0.001 1 0.0010 1.0197

kg/cm2 14.2233 98.0665 394.408 10018.0 28.9590 735.559 0.9807 980.665 1 1000

gm/cm2 0.0142 0.0981 0.3944 10.0180 0.0290 0.7356 0.0010 0.9807 0.001 1

Page 15 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Terminology

5HIHUHQFH3UHVVXUHV
Pressure-measurement devices can be categorised according to $FWLYLWLHV
the reference pressure from which they measure. The three
reference pressures are: 5. An absolute pressure transmitter uses
________________ as the reference.
T Absolute
T Gauge
T Differential 1 a perfect vacuum
Absolute and gauge devices measure the difference between 2 atmosphere
the pressure of the process fluid and a reference pressure. 3 1 bar
Differential devices take two pressure measurements of the
process fluid at different points and measure the difference
between them.

ABSOLUTE PRESSURE
Absolute pressure measurements compare measured pressure
to a perfect vacuum (or 0 psia). Because no pressure reading
can be less than a perfect vacuum, an absolute
pressure-measurement device will never have a negative
reading. The reference pressure of an absolute
pressure-measurement device (i.e., a perfect vacuum) never
changes.
One example of an absolute pressure application is
the monitoring of certain chemical reactions.

Pressure Measurement Page 16


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

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GAUGE PRESSURE $FWLYLWLHV
A gauge pressure-measurement instrument uses the pressure of 6. A gauge pressure transmitter uses
the surrounding atmosphere (approximately 14.7 psi) as a ______________ as the reference.
reference pressure. Changes in atmospheric pressure (such as
those due to changes in the weather) cause the output of a gauge
sensor to change. Depending on the application, the output 1 a perfect vacuum
change may or may not be desirable. In process systems not 2 atmosphere
open to atmosphere (e.g., a process in an unvented tank), 3 0 psia
pressures of the process material being measured could be less
than the surrounding atmospheric pressure, which would result
in a negative pressure reading.
Gauge devices are often used on holding tanks that
are open to atmosphere.

DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE
A differential pressure measurement uses a second process 7. How many process connections
pressure as a reference pressure. Differential pressure do differential pressure-measurement
measurements are often used to infer the rate of flow through a instruments have?
pipe by determining the pressure drop that occurs from one
point in a system to another, such as the pressure drop that
occurs across an orifice plate in a pipe. For example, if a 1 One
differential pressure (DP) instrument is installed so that the 2 Two
high side of the instrument measures the pressure on the 3 Four
upstream side of the flow element in a pipe and the low side of
the instrument measures the pressure on the downstream side
of the flow element, with the high side pressure at 12 psi and
the low side pressure at 10 psi, the differential pressure is 2 psi.
Changes in atmospheric pressure do not affect the output of a
differential pressure-measurement instrument because both
measured pressure and reference pressure are equally
influenced by exposure to the atmosphere.
Differential devices are often used in flow or level
applications.

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For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Terminology

5HIHUHQFH3UHVVXUHV
$FWLYLWLHV
In a "closed" tank system, differential pressure (DP)
measurement is applied to cancel off the varying ullage or
vapor effect when inferring level in the tank. This is possible
because the ullage will be experienced at both the high side and
the low side of the DP instrument and since DP =
high side pressure - low side pressure, the ullage effect is
cancelled off.

Ullage or vapour

P
head

DP
Transmitter

L H
side side

P =P +P
high top head
P =P
low top
P -P =P
high low head

DP Transmitter

Page 18 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 2003 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Terminology

5HIHUHQFH3UHVVXUHV
DESIGNATING REFERENCE PRESSURES $FWLYLWLHV
The designator a for absolute and g for gauge are often 8. What does the designation psig
attached to the end of pressure units to indicate the reference represent?
pressure or type of instrument being used. Thus, the pressure
unit "psi" is sometime represented as psig or psia and the unit
"bar" as bar g or bar a. 1 Pounds per square inch gauge
2 Pounds per square in gas
Converting Absolute Pressure Measurements
3 Pressure per square inch of gas
An absolute pressure measurement registers the pressure of the 4 Pressure per square inch gauge
surrounding atmosphere as part of the pressure reading,
whereas a gage pressure measurement uses atmospheric
pressure as its reference. Therefore, absolute values can be
converted to gage values by subtracting atmospheric pressure
from the absolute pressure reading (Figure 1.2).
9. A gauge pressure transmitter is measuring
atmospheric pressure. What is the pressure
reading?

1 Approx -14.7 psig


–14.7 psig Atmosphere 20 psig
Atmos pher e
0 psig 15 P S I 2 0 psig
3 Approx 14.7 psig
15 P S I G
4 20 psig
GAUGE

29.73 P S I A
ABSOLUTE

10. An absolute pressure transmitter is


measuring atmospheric pressure. What is
0 psia Atmosphere 34.7 psia
14.7 psia the approximate pressure reading in psia?
Figure 1.2: Comparison of Absolute and Gauge Values
For example, to find the gauge value for an absolute pressure- 1 Approx -14.7 psia
measurement device that reads 34.7 psia and is surrounded by 2 0 psia
an atmosphere of 14.7 psia, use the following equation: Approx 14.7 psia
3
34.7 psia – 14.7 psia = 20 psig 4 20 psia
To convert a gauge value to an absolute value, simply reverse
the process described above. Add atmospheric pressure to the
gage value.
20 psig + 14.7 psia = 34.7 psia

Pressure Measurement Page 19


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

5HIHUHQFH3UHVVXUHV
$FWLYLWLHV
14.7 psia is slightly higher than the standard pressure value of
1 atm, which is 14.6959 psi. The value changes depending on
the weather and the location of the instrument, but normally
does not vary more than a few tenths. For most applications,
using a value of 14.7 psia for atmospheric pressure is
sufficient.

Pressure Measurement Page 20


© 2003 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

 
The three types of measurable pressures in the process control 
industry follow:
 Head pressure 11. Head pressure is the pressure exerted
 Static pressure by a column of fluid. Is this statement
 Vapor pressure true or false?
HEAD PRESSURE
Head pressure, also known as hydrostatic pressure, is the
pressure exerted by a column of fluid (Figure 1.3). Head
pressure is directly proportional to the specific gravity of the
fluid and the height of the fluid column.
Head Pressure = Height × S.G.

P1 = Atmospheric Pressure 14.7 psia (407.6 inH2O)


H = Fluid Column Height (100 inH2O)
P3 = Gage Instrument Pressure Reading
SG = Specific Gravity of Fluid

P1
H P = h (s.g.)

SG = 1.7
P3 = 100 inH2O g ⫻ 1.7
= 170 inH2O g 12. Head pressure is proportional to the
specific gravity of a fluid. Is this statement
true or false?
Figure 1.3: Head Pressure
Depending on where the pressure transmitter is mounted,
calculations must be performed to factor out errors and ensure
the correct head pressure is seen by the instrument.
Pressure-measurement instruments are often mounted above or
below the tap, or point at which the process fluid is being
measured.
If the pressure transmitter is mounted below the tap, the
column of fluid held in the connection piping between the tap
and the instrument will put additional pressure on the sensor of
the instrument. If the distance from the tap to the pressure
transmitter and the specific gravity of the fluid are known, the
added head pressure can be factored out of the measurement.
If the pressure-measurement instrument is mounted above the
tap, gravity will act on the column of fluid, pulling it away
from the instrument’s sensor and thus creating a negative head
pressure. A negative head pressure can also be calculated and
then factored out of a pressure measurement.

Page 21 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Terminology

 
STATIC PRESSURE 
Static pressure, or line pressure, is the pressure exerted in a 13. Pressure exerted by the fluid in the
closed system. A closed system is a system that is sealed from pipe can be referred to as static pressure.
atmosphere. An example of static pressure can be found in a Is this statement true or false?
common boiler system. As the water in the boiler is heated,
pressure increases. The term static or line pressure is more
commonly used in flow applications and refers to the pressure
exerted by the fluid in the pipe.
VAPOR PRESSURE
Vaporization is the transformation of a substance from a liquid
state to a gas state (e.g., water to steam). The transformation
occurs at a specific temperature for each liquid. For example,
water turns to steam (boils) at 212 °F (100 °C).
Increased pressure causes the boiling point of a liquid to rise.
Conversely, a decrease in pressure causes the boiling point of a
liquid to fall. For example, water boils at 212 °F at or near sea 14. _______________ is the transformation
level, butat high altitudes where the atmospheric pressure is of a liquid into a gas.
lower, water boils at less than 212 °F.

1 Vaporization
2 Emulsification
3 Condensation

15. As pressure increases, the boiling point


of a liquid _______________ .

1 decreases
2 remains constant
3 increases

Pressure Measurement Page 22


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Terminology

 
The relationship between pressure, temperature, and the 
boiling point of a substance can be plotted on a simple,
two-axis graph. Figure 1.4 shows the vapor pressure curve. 16. Vapor pressure curves are identical
Each substance has its own respective vapor pressure curve. for all substances. Is this statement
The vapor pressure curve of oil, for instance, differs from the true or false?
vapor pressure curve of glycerin.
Pressure-measurement instruments that use a fill fluid are
sensitive to high temperatures. If the fill fluid of an instrument
boils, the instrument gets damaged and will no longer give
an accurate pressure reading. Therefore, the temperature and
pressure conditions of fill fluids must remain such that the
process fluid always falls within the liquid region of its vapor
pressure curve.
When customers choose an instrument and a fill
fluid, anticipated process pressures and
temperatures must be compared to the vapor
pressure curve of the fill fluid to ensure accurate
measurements.

P
r
e
Liquid
s
s
u Vapor
r
e
Temperature

Figure 1.4: The Vapor Pressure Curve

COMPLETE WORKBOOK EXERCISE - PRESSURE TERMINOLOGY

Page 23 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Inferring Nonpressure Variables

 ' &


Pressure-measurement readings can be used to calculate such nonpressure variables as the density of a
process fluid, the level of a process liquid in a tank or vessel, and the rate of flow of a substance through
a pipe.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After completing this section, you will be able to describe how pressure measurement can be used to
infer (calculate):
 The rate of flow of a fluid through a pipe
 The level of a liquid in a tank
 The density of a fluid in a tank
 The way different fluids interface in a vessel

Note: To answer the activity questions the Hand Tool (H) should be activated.

Pressure Measurement Page 24


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Inferring Nonpressure Variables

 ' &


Because there is a known relationship between pressure and 
density, pressure and level, and pressure and the flow of a fluid
through a pipe, these nonpressure variables can be inferred 1. The velocity of the fluid flowing through
from pressure measurements. a pipe ________________ at a rate
proportional to the reduction in pipe
diameter.
FLOW
A common use of pressure measurement is to infer a fluid’s 1 increases
flow rate through a pipe. As a fluid flows through a pipe with a 2 remains constant
decreasing diameter, fluid velocity increases at a rate 3 decreases
proportional to the decrease in pipe diameter. Bernoulli’s
principle states that as a fluid speeds up to bypass an
obstruction, pressure drops. The pressure of the fluid flowing
through a pipe will be greater on the upstream side of an
obstruction in the pipe than on the downstream side.
If pressure is measured before and after an orifice plate in the
pipe (e.g., a flow element such as a venturi tube, flow nozzle,
wedge, or annubar) the difference between the two
measurements, or differential pressure, is proportionate to the
flow rate of the fluid through the pipe.
The flow equation used for DP flowmeters is based on 2. The pressure of a fluid flowing through a
Bernoulli’s equation, which shows that flow rate (Q) is pipe will be greater on the downstream side
proportional (␣) to the square root of differential pressure (⌬P): of an obstruction in a pipe, than on the
upstream side. Is this statement true or false?
Qα ∆P

Approximately half of all flow measurements are


made by inferring the flow rate from a differential
pressure measurement.

Note: For more information on inferring flow rates from


pressure measurements, see the Flow Measurement module.

Page 25 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Inferring Nonpressure Variables

 ' &


LEVEL 
If specific gravity is known, then the level of a liquid in a 3. What factors are required to calculate
tank or vessel can be determined from the pressure measurement the level of liquid in an open tank?
by rearranging the equation used for density calculation: Select all options that apply.
Pressure
Height of Liquid = ---------------------------------------------------
Specific Gravity 1 Pressure
2 Specific gravity of the liquid
The units used to express height and pressure must be 3 Diameter of the tank
comparable. Remember that pressure on the surface of a liquid 4 Atmospheric pressure
can affect a pressure measurement. For example, if you are
using a pressure measurement to infer the level of a tank open
to the surrounding atmosphere, then the atmospheric pressure
must first be subtracted from the pressure reading in order to
obtain an accurate level calculation.
Over half of all level measurements in process
industries are made with a pressure-measurement
device.

Note: For more information on inferring level from pressure


measurements, see the Level Measurement module.

Pressure Measurement Page 26


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Inferring Nonpressure Variables

 ' &


DENSITY MEASUREMENT 
Pressure is equal to the height of the column of liquid being 4. To infer density from a pressure
measured multiplied by the specific gravity of the liquid. measurement, divide pressure
Therefore, if the height of the column is a known constant by the _______________ of the
(as in the case of the distance between two pressure column of liquid.
measurement points on a vessel), the density can be inferred
from the pressure reading using the following equation: 1 specific gravity
Pressure
Specific Gravity = ---------------------------------------------- 2 height
Height of Liquid 3 diameter
Units of pressure are usually different than units of height. The
equation requires comparable units. Most pressure
measurements used for density calculations are therefore made
in units based on referenced columns of fluid (e.g., inches of
water). The height in the equation can also be expressed in
inches, and the units will cancel each other out of the equation:
Pressure inH2 O
Specific Gravity = -----------------------------------------------------
Height of Liquid in
The specific gravity value can be converted into mass per unit
of volume units, such as grams per cubic centimeter (gm/cm3).
Density measurements are often used in the brewing
industry to determine stages of fermentation.

INTERFACE MEASUREMENT
An interface is the boundary between two immiscible
(incapable of being mixed) fluids with different densities
(e.g., oil and water). An interface measurement finds the
boundary between two liquids stored in the same tank, each
with a different density. For example, when oil and water
occupy the same vessel, the oil floats on top of the water. The
interface between the two fluids is the upper level of the water
and the lower level of the oil. If the density of both fluids is
known, interface can be inferred from a pressure measurement.

Page 27 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Inferring Nonpressure Variables


 ' &
Application Example:To determine % of interface
Liquid A with respect to Liquid B

What is the Calibration Range? Vapour
Remote Seal SG = 1.1
1

4 mA pt? (at 0% level) P


top
DP = 120" * (SG - SG )
1 f
DP = 120" * (1.1 - 0.95)
= 18" H O 100%
2

Liquid A
10 ft
SG = 1.3
20 mA pt? (at 100% level) 1
DP = 120" * (SG - SG )
2 f
DP = 120" * (1.3 - 0.95 )
Liquid B
= 42" H 0
2 0%
Cal Range = 18 to 42" H20 L H
P
bottom

Distance Betn Taps = 10 ft


= 10 x12"
= 120"

SG = 0.95
1

Interface is often used when a manufacturer has two


fluids in a tank and wants to pour off only the top
fluid—the interface measurement indicates when to
stop.

COMPLETE WORKBOOK EXERCISE - INFERRING NONPRESSURE VARIABLES

Page 28 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

  



Pressure-measurement instruments vary widely in accuracy, complexity, the amount of maintenance
they require, and their suitability to different applications.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After you have completed this section, you will be able to:
 Identify two types of pressure gauges
 Explain the operations of the two types of liquid column gauges:
• Barometers
• Manometers
 Name the parts of a mechanical pressure gauge
 Describe the operation and use of pneumatic pressure cells
 Describe the operation of the following electronic pressure transmitters:
• Variable capacitance
• Piezoresistive
• Piezoelectric
• Variable inductance
• Variable reluctance
• Vibrating wire
• Strain gauge
Note: To answer the activity questions the Hand Tool (H) should be activated.

Pressure Measurement Page 29


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

 (
All pressure measurements depend upon some portion of the 
instrument being physically moved by the pressure source
being measured. Two types of pressure-measurement gauges 1. Which of these are examples of liquid
are liquid column gauges and mechanical gauges. In a liquid column gauges?
column gauge, the height of a column of liquid varies in
response to applied pressure. Mechanical gauges have
mechanical parts that move in response to applied pressure. 1 Pyrometer
2 Manometer
LIQUID COLUMN GAUGES 3 Tachometer
4 Barometer
Below are two types of liquid column pressure gauges:
 Barometer
 Manometer

Barometer
A barometer is a device that measures atmospheric pressure. A
barometer consists of a clear, hollow tube with one end blocked
off. The tube is filled with liquid and set, with the blocked end
pointing up, into a reservoir of fill liquid (typically mercury)
(Figure 1.5).

P= pressure

29.9 in Hg

Phead
Patm

Figure 1.5: Barometer


When the tube is upright and longer than the column of liquid
at atmospheric pressure, there is a void at the top of the tube.
For example, a column of mercury is 29.9 in high (29.9 inHg)
at a pressure of 1 atm. Therefore, the barometer tube must be
longer than 30 in.
The distance from the top of the liquid in the reservoir to the
top of the liquid in the barometer is the barometric
(atmospheric) pressure. If atmospheric pressure changes, the
level of the fluid in the tube changes as well.

Page 30 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

 (
Barometers are highly accurate. They are often used as a 
reference for calibrating other pressure instruments.
Barometers are also commonly used for weather forecasting. 2. A U-tube manometer measures pressure
by comparing the fluid level in one leg to
Manometer the fluid level in the other leg of the
manometer. Is this statement true
A derivation of the barometer is the manometer. A manometer or false?
is a clear, U-shaped tube partially filled with fluid. One leg of
the manometer is the reference side; the other leg is the
measured side. A pressure measurement is made by comparing
the fluid levels of the column in each leg of the manometer U
(Figure 1.6).

Differential Head

Figure 1.6: Manometer


If the reference side of the manometer U is open to
atmospheric pressure, the manometer will function as a gage
instrument. If the reference side of the manometer U is sealed,
a vacuum exists above the fluid column on the reference side of
the manometer. In this case, the manometer will function as an
absolute instrument.

Pressure Measurement Page 31


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

 (
MECHANICAL PRESSURE GAUGES 
Mechanical pressure gauges have two basic parts: 3. Which of the following shapes describe
 Sensing device Bourdon tube designs?
 Mechanical dial or indicator (connected to the sensing Select all options that apply.
device; gives a pressure reading)
1 Twisted
The most commonly used types of pressure-sensing devices
are:
2 Helical
 Bourdon tube
3 Straight
 Bellows and capsules
4 Spiral
5 C Shaped
Mechanical pressure gauges are still widely used in the process
control industry.

Bourdon Tube
Bourdon tubes are curled, flexible tubes with one closed end.
As fluid flows into a bourdon tube, the tube straightens. As
pressure increases, the tube straightens further. When pressure
decreases, the tube springs back to its original shape. Several
different metals and other materials are used to make bourdon
tubes.
Bourdon tubes come in four designs (Figure 1.7):
 C shaped
 Twisted
 Helical
 Spiral

Motion Motion

Pressure
Pressure

C SHAPED TWISTED HELICAL SPIRAL

Figure 1.7: Bourdon Tubes

Page 32 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

Pressure Gauges


Measured
Pressure

Example of application of C-Shaped Bourdon Tube

Page 33 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

 (
Bellows and Capsules 
Bellows and capsules are pleated, flexible chambers that
expand when filled with material under pressure. The
individual chambers of a capsule are sealed so that only the
first chamber in the series is actually in contact with process
pressure. A bellows is open inside.
Capsules tend to spring back to their original shape when the
pressure is released. Bellows often require an external spring to
push them back into shape. A reference pressure may also be
applied to the outside of the bellows or capsule.

Measured
Pressure

Spring

Bellows

Measured
Pressure

Capsular Element

Pressure Measurement Page 34


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

  


A transducer is a device that converts a signal in one form into 
a signal in another form. Pneumatic transducers sense pressure 4. Which of the following are parts of a
and output a stream of air in response. Pneumatic devices pneumatic transducer?
consist of the following component parts: Select all options that apply.
 Sensing device—Usually a diaphragm, bourdon tube, or
capsular element 1 Sensing device
 Supply pressure nozzle—A steady stream of air flows
2 Supply nozzle
through the supply nozzle 3 Output air stream filter
 Flapper—Connected to the sensing device; directs more
4 Output nozzle
or less of the air flow from the supply nozzle to the output 5 Flapper
pressure nozzle
 Output pressure nozzle—Receives a stream of air
(regulated by the flapper) from the supply nozzle and
directs the air stream out of the instrument
Because of the need to run pneumatic pipin g,
reconfiguration of a pneumatic system is costly. In
addition, pneumatic devices are less accurate than
electronic devices.

PNEUMATIC CONTROLLERS
A pneumatic controller is a device that, in response to an input 5. What is a pneumatic controller?
pressure, sends a pneumatic output to a relay. A relay is a
device that sends a pneumatic impulse strong enough to
physically accomplish some action (e.g., open or close a valve) 1 A device that sends out a digital
to regulate the process. output in response to an input pressure.
For example, as process pressure increases, a sensing device 2 A device that sends out an electrical
moves. Because the sensing device is connected to the flapper, output in response to an input pressure.
the flapper also moves. The flapper is set to move back and 3 A device that sends a pneumatic output
forth over the opening of the supply nozzle in a way that directs in response to an input pressure.
more air flow through the output nozzle. Therefore, as process 4 A device that sends out a pneumatic
pressure increases, the air pressure output of the pneumatic output in response to an input electrical
device increases proportionately. In response to the output signal.
signal from the pneumatic controller, a valve in a relay opens
allowing more pneumatic pressure to be sent to a valve. The
pneumatic pressure sent by the relay adjusts the setting of the
control valve in order to keep the process pressure within
defined limits.

Page 35 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

  


Process Pressure


Flapper Bourdon Tube


Nozzle

Output to Actuator(or relay)

Constant flow rate maintained


(Compressed air)

Pneumatic Controller

Page 36 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

  


PNEUMATIC TRANSMITTERS 
A pneumatic transmitter is a device that, in response to input 6. The _______________ scale is the most
pressure, outputs a proportionate, standardised pneumatic common process control industry standard
signal. for pneumatic signals.
The most common industry standard for the output of
pneumatic transmitters is 3–15 psig. The pneumatic transmitter 1 1 - 10 psig
is calibrated so that when the process pressure is at its lowest 2 3 - 15 psig
acceptable point, the output of the transmitter is 3 psig. When 3 5 - 15 psig
the process pressure is at its maximum acceptable limit, the
transmitter output is 15 psig. Pneumatic transmitter signals
between 3 psig and 15 psig correspond to process pressures
within the operating range.

Signal

Force Bar
Air and Baffle
Supply

Liquid Filled
Twin Diaphragm
Capsule

High Low

Pneumatic Transmitter

Pressure Measurement Page 37


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


Electronic transmitters convert input pressure into a digital or 
electrical signal. Electronic transmitters have two basic parts:
 Sensor 7. Which are the basic parts of an electronic
 Electronics pressure transmitter?
Like a mechanical pressure gauge’s sensing device, the sensor
of an electronic pressure transmitter physically responds to
1 Bellows and electronics
changes in input pressure. The sensor converts the physical
movement into an electrical property, such as capacitance, 2 Sensor and flapper
voltage, inductance, or reluctance. The electronics part of the 3 Flapper and pressure nozzle
transmitter changes the output of the sensor into a standard 4 Sensor and electronics
electronic signal.
The most widely used electronic signal in the process control
industry is the 4 to 20 mA signal. When using the 4–20 mA
signal, an electronic transmitter is calibrated so that when
the process pressure is at its lowest acceptable point, the
output of the transmitter is 4 mA. When the process pressure
is at its maximum acceptable limit, the transmitter output
is 20 mA. Transmitter outputs between 4 mA and 20 mA
correspond to process pressures within the operating
range.
Several types of sensors used with electronic pressure 8. Which is the most widely used electronic
transmitters are listed below: signal in the process control industry?
 Variable capacitance
 Piezoresistive
 Piezoelectric 1 0-10 mA signal
 Variable inductance 2 4-20 mA signal
 Variable reluctance 3 3-21 mA signal
 Vibrating wire 4 0-20 mA signal
 Strain gauge

VARIABLE CAPACITANCE
Capacitance is the ability of a substance to hold an electrical
charge. A capacitor is a device consisting of two conductive
plates aligned with one another but not making contact. The
space between the plates is filled by an insulating medium
known as a dielectric. In the variable capacitance sensor of
most pressure transmitters, the dielectric is oil. Three factors
affect the capacitance of a capacitor:
 Surface area of the plates
 Insulating properties of the dielectric
 Distance between the plates

Page 38 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

   



9. How is capacitance defined?

1 The tendency of a substance to oppose


an instantaneous current change in a
circuit
2 The ability of a substance to hold
an electric charge
3 The characteristic of a substance that
opposes current flow

Page 39 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


In a variable capacitance pressure transmitter, the surface area 
of the plates and the properties of the dielectric do not change.
A sensing diaphragm which is held between the capacitor 10. In a variable capacitance pressure transmitter,
plates, moves in response to the applied pressure. the isolating diaphragms will not be in
contact with the process or reference
Because the sensing diaphragm needs to be surrounded by a pressure. Is this statement true or false?
known dielectric, it cannot be directly exposed to process
pressure or fluid. Usually, a fixed capacitor plate and an
isolating diaphragm are on either side of the sensing
diaphragm. The isolating diaphragms are actually in contact
with process or reference pressures (Figure 1.8).

Operation
During operation, the isolating diaphragms and fill fluid on the
process and reference sides of the sensor transmit the process
and reference pressure to the oil fill fluid. The fluid in turn
transmits the process and reference pressure to the sensing
diaphragm in the center of the variable capacitance sensor. The
sensing diaphragm deflects in response to differential pressure
across it. In gage pressure transmitters, atmospheric pressure is
transmitted to the low side of the sensing diaphragm. In
absolute pressure transmitters, a reference pressure is
maintained on the low side. The displacement of the sensing
diaphragm is proportional to the pressure. Capacitor plates on
both sides detect the position of the sensing diaphragm. The
differential capacitance between the sensing diaphragm and the
other capacitor plates is converted electronically to an
appropriate current, voltage, or digital output signal.

Capacitor Output
Lead Wires

Capacitor Plates

Sensing Diaphragm

Rigid Insulation

Dielectric
(Oil Fill Fluid)

Isolating
Diaphragm Welded Seals

Figure 1.8: Variable Capacitance Sensor

Pressure Measurement Page 40


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


Benefits and Limitations of Variable Capacitance Devices 
Variable capacitance devices are very durable, accurate,
11. What is a piezoresistor?
vibration resistant, and can be calibrated to measure both large
and small amounts of pressure. The potential damage to
external diaphragms due to overpressure is significantly A natural or synthetic crystal that
1
reduced by the moulded face of the sensor body. The produces a small voltage when
diaphragm is simply pushed back into this moulding and its
pressure is applied to it.
own shape thereby gets reinforced.
2 1 A piece of metal or a semiconductor
Pressure transmitters that use variable capacitance that exhibits a change in electrical
are the most popular in the process control industry.
resistance when bent or stretched.
PIEZORESISTANCE 3 A movable iron core surrounded by a
Resistance is the amount of opposition to the flow of electricity coil of wire which is connected to an
exhibited by a particular conductor. A piezoresistor is a piece ac input.
of metal or a semiconductor that exhibits a change in resistance 4 A wire carrying a dc current, placed
when bent or stretched. In a piezoresistive transmitter, pressure in a magnetic field.
is transmitted through a fill fluid from an isolating diaphragm
to a piezoresistor (Figure 1.9). As the piezoresistor is flexed by
pressure, its resistance changes. The piezoresistor is usually
part of a configuration of electrical conductors and resistors set
up to measure changes in resistance called a wheatstone
bridge. The change in resistance is then converted by the
electronic components of the transmitter into a standard control
signal, commonly a milliampere, voltage, or digital control
signal.
12. What is a wheatstone bridge used
for?

1 To measure variable capacitance


2 To measure piezoresistive outputs
3 To measure changes in resistance
Piezoresistive
4 To measure piezoresistance
Element

Isolating Diaphragm

Figure 1.9: Piezoresistive Sensor

Page 41 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


Benefits and Limitations of Piezoresistive Devices 
Piezoresistive devices are also very responsive to pressure 13. What happens to a piezoelectric crystal
changes and are highly accurate. Like variable capacitance when pressure is applied to it?
devices, piezoresistive devices are sensitive to changes in
temperature.
1 The crystal produces a small voltage.
PIEZOELECTRIC 2 The crystal produces a standard
control signal.
The sensor of a piezoelectric transmitter consists of a 3 The crystal generates heat and it's
pressure-sensing device, such as a diaphragm, connected to a
electrical resistance increases.
piezoelectric crystal. A piezoelectric crystal is a natural or
4 The crystal generates a varying
synthetic crystal that produces a voltage when pressure is
frequency signal proportional to
applied to it. The piezoelectric crystal produces a very small
pressure.
voltage, so the voltage is usually amplified and then converted
by the transmitter electronics into a standard control signal,
commonly a milliampere, voltage, or digital control signal.

Benefits and Limitations of Piezoelectric Devices


Piezoelectric measurement devices are sensitive to changes in
pressure, but are not particularly good at measuring static
pressure. Piezoelectric devices are temperature and vibration
sensitive. Because of these limitations, piezoelectric
technology is not widely used in the process control industry.

VARIABLE INDUCTANCE
Inductance is a process by which a body that has magnetic or
electrical properties passes those properties to another body
without making contact. In a variable inductance transmitter, a
movable iron core is surrounded by a coil of wire. An
alternating current (ac) input is run through the coil. The iron
core is attached to a sensing device (e.g., diaphragm or
capsule). As the sensing device moves in response to pressure,
the iron core moves in relation to the surrounding coil. The
change in position of the iron core causes a proportionate
change in the inductance of the coil. The change in inductance
can be measured and converted electronically to a standard
control signal, commonly a milliampere, voltage, or digital
control signal.

Pressure Measurement Page 42


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


Benefits and Limitations of Variable Inductance Devices 
Variable inductance devices are durable and not greatly 14. The electrical property of reluctance is
influenced by vibration. They are, however, sensitive to defined as the property of a body to create
fluctuations in temperature and to changes in the ambient change in a magnetic field. Is this statement
electromagnetic field. true or false?

VARIABLE RELUCTANCE
Variable reluctance transmitters also convert changes in
inductance into a standard milliampere, voltage, or digital
control signal, but are configured differently than variable
inductance transmitters. Two coils are placed on either side of a
magnetic diaphragm. An ac voltage is run through the coils,
which turns the coils into electromagnets. As the magnetic
diaphragm moves closer to one coil and farther from the other
in response to pressure, the inductance of the coils changes
because of changes in the magnetic field around the coils. The
property of a body to create change in a magnetic field is called
reluctance.
15. The electronic components of a pressure
Benefits and Limitations of Variable Reluctance Devices transmitter convert the frequency of the
Because the basic operating principle is similar to that of vibrating wire into a standard control signal.
variable inductance devices, variable reluctance devices exhibit Is this statement true or false?
similar characteristics. Variable reluctance devices are sensitive
to fluctuations in temperature and in the ambient
electomagnetic field.

VIBRATING WIRE
If a current is passed through a wire that is in a magnetic field,
the wire will vibrate. Changes in the tension with which the
wire is held change the frequency of the vibration of the wire.
If one end of the wire is attached to an elastic sensing device,
such as a diaphragm, changes in pressure on the diaphragm
will cause proportionate changes in the vibrational frequency
of the wire. The frequency is measured and converted into a
standard control signal, commonly a milliampere, voltage, or
digital control signal.

Page 43 Pressure Measurement


For Internal Use Only © 1999 Rosemount Inc.
Pressure Measurement and Control

   


Benefits and Limitations of Vibrating Wire Devices 
Because vibrating wire technology is dependent on measuring
vibration, mechanical vibration of the device can cause
inaccurate outputs.

STRAIN GAUGE
The electrical property of resistance of a conductive substance
changes as that substance is stretched. In a strain gauge, one
end of a wire is attached to an elastic sensing device, and the
other end of the wire is secured in place. As the sensing device
moves in response to changes in pressure, the wire is stretched
or relaxed. The variations in strain on the wire cause
measurable changes in the resistance property of the wire.
Changes in resistance are electronically converted into
standard control signals, such as milliampere, voltage, or
digital control signals.
Some strain gauges use foil cemented to the back of a sensing
device instead of wires. As the amount of strain on the foil
changes, resistance changes as well.
The piezoresistive transmitters discussed previously are
actually a form of strain gauge.

Benefits and Limitations of Strain Gauge Devices


Strain gauges can be very sensitive to small changes in
pressure, but the output of the strain gauge (i.e., a change in
resistance) is very small and requires amplification. Strain
gauges that are cemented to a sensing device can become
partially detached and therefore inaccurate. Strain gauges are
also extremely sensitive to temperature changes.

COMPLETE WORKBOOK EXERCISE - PRESSURE MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL

Pressure Measurement Page 44


© 1999 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
EXERCISE 1.1 — WHAT IS PRESSURE?
1. In the equation: P = F/A,

P is _________________ (Pressure / Power / Pound)


F is _________________ (Frequency / Farad / Force)
A is _________________ (Altitude / Area / Amplitude)

2. A closed tank with a volume of 18,000 ft3 holds gas at a temperature of 500 °F and at
a pressure of 2,000 psia. Would it be a good idea to transfer the gas to another
closed tank with a volume of 6,000 ft3 and a pressure limit of 4,000 psia?

(1) Yes, transferring the gas is a good idea because pressure will increase to
approximately 2,660 psia only, which is well within the specified pressure limit
of the smaller tank.
(2) Yes, transferring the gas is a good idea because the pressure of 2,000 psia
will be well within the 4,000 psia pressure limit of the smaller tank.
(3) No, transferring the gas is not a good idea because the pressure will increase
to 6,000 psia, which is much more than the 4,000 psia pressure limit of the
smaller tank.
(4) No, transferring the gas is not a good idea because it is not possible to
transfer a gas at a temperature of 500 °F.

3. A closed tank with a volume of 18,000 ft3 holds gas at a temperature of 500 °F and at
a pressure of 2,000 psia.

If the gas is cooled to 100 °F, will it be a good idea to transfer the gas to another
closed tank with a volume of 6,000 ft3 and a pressure limit of 4,000 psia?

(1) Yes, transferring the gas is a good idea because the decrease in pressure will
be proportionate to the decrease in temperature.
(2) No, transferring the gas is not a good idea because the pressure will not
decrease below the 4,000 psia pressure limit of the smaller tank.
(3) No, transferring the gas is not a good idea because it is not possible to
transfer a gas at a temperature of 100 °F.

Page 45 Workbook Exercises


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
4. A vented tank holds 8,000 gallons of maple syrup at a temperature of 74°F. A smaller
vented tank nearby holds 4,000 gallons of the same syrup at the same temperature.

If the pressure 10 feet below the surface of the syrup in the larger tank is 20 psig,
what will be the pressure 10 feet below the surface of the syrup in the smaller tank?

(1) 10 psig, since the pressure will decrease in proportion to the decrease in
volume.
(2) 20 psig, since the liquid pressure is not affected by tank volume.
30 psig, since the liquid pressure on the side of the tank will increase only by
50%
(3) 40 psig, since the pressure will increase in proportion to the decrease in
volume

Workbook Exercises Page 46


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
EXERCISE 1.2 — WHY MEASURE PRESSURE?
1. Match each pressure-measurement application to the correct scenario.

(1) Process efficiency _____


(2) Safety / Environmental _____
(3) Inferred measurement _____
(4) Cost savings _____

(A) A flanged connection on a pipe has a burst pressure limit of 750 psig. If the
pressure exceeds 750 psig, the connection will release toxic fluid.
(B) A dairy uses a compressor to pump air into the top of a closed tank to force
milk out of the tank and into a pipeline. To save money, the compressor
should be turned off as soon as the tank is empty.
(C) A commercial brewer needs to know at what of other variables point in the
process to begin cold filtering.
(D) A natural gas distributor uses a differential pressure measurement to
determine the amount of gas being distributed through a pipe to a customer.

Page 47 Workbook Exercises


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
EXERCISE 1.3 — PRESSURE TERMINOLOGY

1. An oil refinery uses a process that produces a maximum pressure of 35 bar. The
refinery manager asks if the process connection of a particular Rosemount
transmitter is rated to withstand such a pressure. The Rosemount product literature
lists the pressure ratings in psig.

What will be the pressure reading in psig?

To use the table:


• Locate the units you are converting from in the column on the left.
• Locate the units you are converting to in the row on top.
• Where the convert from row intersects the convert to column a factor is listed.
Multiply the units you are converting from by the factor to convert the units.

(1) 35 x 14.5038 = 507.633 psig


(2) 35 x 0.0193 = 0.6755 psig
(3) 35 x 29.5300 = 1033.55 psig
(4) 35 x 0.0689 = 2.4115 psig

2. The pressure reading of an absolute transmitter on an open tank is 500 psia. If


atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi, what is the gauge pressure of the tank?

(1) 500 psia / 14.7 psia = 34.01 psig


(2) 500 psia + 14.7 psia = 514.7 psig
(3) 500 psia x 14.7 psia = 7350 psig
(4) 500 psia – 14.7 psia = 485.3 psig

Workbook Exercises Page 48


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
3. In vacuum applications, __________ pressure must be considered to prevent the
fluid from transforming to its gaseous state.

(1) head
(2) static
(3) vapor

4. A constant operating pressure is known as __________ pressure, while the pressure


exerted by a column of fluid is known as __________ pressure.

(1) head (1) head


(2) static (2) static
(3) vapor (3) vapor

5. If in Tank 1 P1 is 14.7 psia and P2 is 4.3 psig, what is the value of P3 if the
measurement device is an absolute instrument?
P1 = Pressure on the surface, P2 = Pressure exerted by the column of fluid, P3 =
Pressure reading of the measurement device

(1) 3.41 psia


(2) 19.0 psia
(3) 63.21 psia
(4) 10.4 psia

Page 49 Workbook Exercises


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
6. If in the above Tank 1 P1 is 14.7 psia and P2 is 20.7 psia, what is the value of P3 if
the measurement device is a gauge instrument?

(1) 14.7 psig: The gauge instrument subtracts the liquid column pressure and
takes only the atmospheric pressure.
(2) 19.0 psig: The gauge instrument gives the summation of liquid column
pressure and atmospheric pressure.
(3) 6.0 psig: The gauge instrument subtracts the atmospheric pressure and gives
only the liquid column pressure.
(4) 10.4 psig: The gauge instrument subtracts the liquid column pressure from
the atmospheric pressure.

7. If in Tank 2 P1 is –2 psig, P2 is 6.2 psig, and the atmospheric pressure outside


the tank is 14.7 psia, what is the value of P3 if the measurement device is an
absolute instrument?

P1 = Pressure on the surface, P2 = Pressure exerted by the column of fluid, P3 =


Pressure reading of the measurement device

(1) 18.9 psia


(2) 22.9 psia
(3) 2.04 psia
(4) 78.74 psia

Workbook Exercises Page 50


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
EXERCISE 1.4 — INFERRING NON-PRESSURE VARIABLES
1. If the specific gravity of a process fluid in an open tank is 1.3 and the measured
gauge pressure is 150 in H2O, what is the fluid level in the tank?

(1) Height of liquid = Pressure / Specific Gravity, therefore 150 / 1.3 = 115.4 in
(2) Height of liquid = Pressure X Specific Gravity, therefore 150 X 1.3 = 195 in
(3) Height of liquid = Pressure + Specific Gravity, therefore 150 + 1.3 = 151.3 in
(4) Height of liquid = Pressure - Specific Gravity, therefore 150 - 1.3 = 148.7 in

2. The differential pressure is 2 psig, which converts to 55.4592 in H2O. Therefore, the
specific gravity of the fluid is 55.4592 __________ 36 = __________.

(1) + (1) 91.4592


(2) - (2) 1.540
(3) / (3) 19.4592

Page 51 Workbook Exercises


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
3. According to Bernoulli’s equation, flowrate is proportional to the __________ of
differential pressure.

(1) square
(2) square root
(3) cube root

Workbook Exercises Page 52


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Workbook Exercises
EXERCISE 1.5 — PRESSURE MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL
1. Match each technology or device to the correct description.

(1) Manometer _____


(2) Piezo-resistive _____
(3) Variable capacitance _____
(4) Piezo-electric _____

(A) Exposes a crystal to changes in pressure and measures the corresponding


changes in voltage being put out by the crystal
(B) Is the most popular electronic sensing technology in the process control
industry
(C) Uses a semiconductor that exhibits a change in resistance when bent or
flexed
(D)

2. Match each technology or device to the correct description.

(1) Variable capacitance _____


(2) 3-15 psig _____
(3) Variable inductance and/or variable reluctance _____
(4) Bourdon tube _____
(5) 4-20 mA scale _____

(A) Is the most common pneumatic output signal in the process control industry
(B) Is particularly sensitive to changes in the ambient electromagnetic field
(C) Consists of a twisted tube with one closed end that straightens when filled
with process fluid
(D) Is the most common electronic output signal in the process control industry
(E) Has di-electric fluid as part of the sensing device

3. Match each technology or device to the correct description.

(1) Variable capacitance sensor _____


(2) Barometer _____
(3) Vibrating wire _____
(4) Variable resistance sensor element _____

Page 53 Workbook Exercises


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Workbook Exercise
EXERCISE – ANSWERS

Exercise 1.1 – What is Pressure?

1. Pressure, Force, Area


2. 3
3. 1
4. 2

Exercise 1.2 – Why Measure Pressure?

1. C, A, D, B

Exercise 1.3 – Pressure Terminology

1. 1
2. 4
3. 3
4. 2, 1
5. 2
6. 3
7. 1

Exercise 1.4 – Inferring Non-pressure Variables

1. 1
2. 3, 2
3. 2

Exercise 1.5 – Pressure Measurement and Control

1. D, C, B, A
2. E, A, B, C, D
3. D, A, B, C

Workbook Exercise - Answers Page 54


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only
Module 1: Activity Answers
What is Pressure?

1. 4
2. False
3. 1,2,4
4. True
5. Mass, Volume
6. True
7. False
8. 3
9. 2
10. 1

Why Measure Pressure?

1. 1,2,3,4
2. True
3. 1,3,4,5

Pressure Terminology

1. 2
2. 3
3. 1,3,4,6
4. 3
5. 1
6. 2
7. 2
8. 1
9. 2
10. 3
11. True
12. True
13. True
14. 1
15. 3
16. False

Page 55 Activity Answers


For Internal Use Only © 2002 Rosemount Inc.
Module 1: Activity Answers
Inferring Non-pressure Variables

1. 1
2. False
3. 1,2
4. 2

Pressure Measurement and Control

1. 2,4
2. True
3. 1,2,4,5
4. 1,2,4,5
5. 3
6. 2
7. 4
8. 2
9. 2
10. False
11. 2
12. 3
13. 1
14. True

Activity Answers Page 56


© 2002 Rosemount Inc. For Internal Use Only