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A Current Meter Used for the Estimation of Water

Flow Rate in the Upwelling Pipe

Chicheng Xu, Wei Fan*,Yongfa Qiang,Hui Liang,

Hong Pan
Ocean College
Hangzhou Radiant Digital Tech Co.Ltd
Zhejiang University Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Zhoushan, Zhejiang, China e-mail:
*Corresponding author:

Abstract—Considerable interests in recent years have been II. MEASUREMENT PRINCIPLE

directed towards the study of various mechanical devices to draw
up deep ocean water (DOW), particularly the air-lift artificial A. The relationship between the flow rate and the rotation
upwelling devices. However, one of the obstacles which limit their angle at the free end of metal bar
application in open ocean mariculture is the difficulty in
estimating the flow rate in the upwelling pipe.
The current meter will tilt because of the fluid drag FD in
pipe, which is given by (1),
Conventionally, the water flow rate in the upwelling pipe is
measured by a electromagnetic flowmeter (EMF). However, the 1
FD = ν 2 ρ CD A (1)
EMF can not withstand the pressure under the sea. 2
In this study, a current meter based on accelerometer is where, ν is current speed, ρ is density of ocean water, CD
designed. It aims to obtain relatively precise data of flow rate in is drag coefficient, A is cross section area of floater.
pipe, which enables artificial upwelling devices to perform better
in mariculture. The rotation angle θ at the free end of metal bar is given
by (2) when θ is not big.
Keywords—artificial upwelling; current meter; water flow rate
Fl 2
2 EI
The speed measurement of ocean current is critical to many
research fields such as oceanophysics, thalassochemistry and where, F is pressure at the free end of metal bar, l is length
ocean engineering. The amount and accuracy of the data not of metal bar, E is elasticity modulus, I is moment of inertia
only determine the veracity of scientific research, but also of cross section.
influence the development of marine programs. With more and Equation (3) can be obtained from (1) and (2) by substituting
more attention being paid to ocean exploitation and the rapid F with FD .
development of marine science, the velocity measurement is
being required to improve [1]. Therefore, how to obtain enough
accurate velocity data by less cost is one of the key issues for
marine science. 4θ EI
ν= (3)
Besides, the high cost of commercial sensors has so far ρ CD A
impeded current related studies in many fields. In order to meet
the practical need in marine science, an approach of velocity Then, the flow rate Qw is given by (4).
measurement based on accelerometer is presented. The velocity
measurement principle of the ocean current is systematically
introduced. Then, the detailed computation formula is deduced
4θ EI
and measurement model is proposed. The measurement Qw = <S (4)
experiments also have been carried out. The experiment results ρ CD A
show the effectiveness of the measurement setup.
where, S is the cross section area of upwelling pipe.
B. Measurement of rotation angle
The rotation angle is measured by an accelerometer fixed in
the floater. Its accuracy is 0.01g and range 2g. Rectangular
coordinate system is attached to the accelerometer. The origin is

978-1-4673-9724-7/16/$31.00 ©2016 IEEE

set in the accelerometer and the xyz-axis is set in the three sets of peripherals targeted for various applications. The
directions of measurement. architecture, combined with five low power modes is optimized
to achieve extended battery life in portable measurement
Under a certain velocity, the current meter will tilt. The applications. The device features a powerful 16-bit RISC CPU,
acceleration measured by the accelerometer is a . 16-bit registers, and constant generators that contribute to
G G G G maximum code efficiency. The digitally controlled oscillator
a=ax i+a y j+az k (5)
(DCO) allows wake-up from low-power modes to active mode
in less than 6 ȝs.
where, a x , a y and a z are three components of gravity on the
G The MSP430F15x/16x/161x series are microcontroller
coordinate. If the measured acceleration in zero current is a 0 ,
configurations with two built-in 16-bit timers, a fast 12-bit A/D
the rotation angle θ is calculated by (6) [2]. converter, dual 12-bit D/A converter, one or two universal serial
G G synchronous/asynchronous communication interfaces (USART),
a ⋅ a0
cos θ = G G (6) I2C, DMA, and 48 I/O pins. In addition, the MSP430F161x
⋅ 0|
|a||a series offers extended RAM addressing for memory-intensive
applications and large C-stack requirements.
III. MPU6050
The MPU6050 is a compact motion processing technology. V. HARDWARE DESIGN
It consists of a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer. The For the purpose of measuring current meter in upwelling
three axes are present to acquire the magnitude and direction of pipe, it must have relatively high resolution and long duration.
acceleration and orientation. Accelerometer and Gyroscope are The current meter consists of hardware circuit module, floater
combined on a single silicon chip with an onboard digital and metal bar. As shown in Fig.2 and Fig.3, the floater is made
processor. It is capable of tracking fast and slow motion. The of plastic, and the metal bar is made of stainless steel. The
main advantages of MPU6050 are low cost and low power hardware circuit module consists of accelerometer,
(3.3V). It is a high performance miniature device. It is an I2C microcomputer and memory. The drag coefficient of floater and
devise which can communicate at a maximum speed of 400 kHz. elasticity modulus of metal bar are measured experimentally.
IV. MSP430 The current meter is fixed on the wall of pipe and it tilts
when there is a flow in pipe. The rotation angle of the metal bar
The MSP430F149 is a member of the TI Company new depends on the flow rate, size of floater, density of ocean water
generation 16 bit microcomputer MSP430 family. The MSP430 and drag coefficient. In the same area of ocean, these factors are
series is the ultra low power mixed single microcontroller and invariable, so the rotation angle is decided by flow rate in the
good use of battery power supply occasion. The single chip upwelling pipe [3] [4].
can collect and transmit the data with its own AD and DMA,
and display the data clearly with wave shape by LCD Module. VI. DATA PROCESSING
The Texas Instruments MSP430 family of ultralow power There will be error in measurement because of measuring
microcontrollers consists of several devices featuring different accuracy, effect of external forces, zero drift and temperature
drift, which have negative effects on measurement. Therefore,
the vector sum of acceleration in three directions is usually not
equal to acceleration of gravity. When there are external forces,
the measured value is the vector sum of the acceleration of
gravity and external forces, which is not equal to acceleration
of gravity, so it is difficult to measure the true value when there
are external forces. Low pass filtering is needed. And when
deviation between the vector sum of acceleration in three
directions and the acceleration of gravity

Fig. 1. MPU6050
Fig. 2. Current Meter and Upwelling Pipeline
Fig. 3. Hardware Circuit Module

is bigger than 0.05g, the measured value should be abandoned.

The software system includes the main program, the
interrupt service program and a series of subroutines. The main
program completes the initialization and wait for interrupt.
Interrupt service program includes meaurement program and
data processing subroutine. Fig. 4. Program Flow Chart
As shown in Fig.4, the a 0 must be got firstly. It is TABLE I. MEASURED VELOCITY UNDER A CERTAIN CURRENT
measured in still water and saved in the memory. The a1 is
measured every 0.1 second. As mentioned above, the rotation Measured value
angle θ is calculated timely. And then, ν is calculated and
saved. Time Measured angle Measured velocity
In the subroutines, federal Kalman filter is applied to reduce
measure error. The equation of measurement is pointed out by
using gyroscope in MPU6050. And the equation of state is got
1 0min 5.651° 0.315 m/s
by accelerometer. Then, the optimal value can be obtained by
Kalman filter data fusion [5].
VIII. RESULT 2 5min 6.101° 0.327 m/s
The current meter is tested in a water flume. Under a certain
current, the measured velocity is relatively stable. And the
mean square error is less than 5%. Therefore, it can meet the 3 10min 5.767° 0.318 m/s
need of estimating the flow rate in pipe.

4 15min 5.713° 0.316 m/s

5 20min 5.213° 0.302 m/s

6 25min 5.872° 0.321 m/s

IX. DISCUSSION of China (No. 51120195001 and No. 41406084),and the
Calibration is necessary before deployment, which includes International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of
two parts: measured value of accelerometer in zero flow (zero China (No. 2015DFA01410).
value) and drag coefficient CD .
It is really important to determine the zero value. Otherwise
it will result in a serious system error. When current speed is REFERENCES
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This research is financially funded by the Public Welfare
Project of Science Technology Department of Zhejiang Province,
China (No. 2015C31096), the National Natural Science Funds