team photo

Figure 1
project photo

Figure 2
project photo


Team 26

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Aimi Chiem
Kelly Crossman
Joshua Donahue

David Giblin

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Ultrasonic Pipe Flow Sensor

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) deals in providing insurance to homeowners’ boilers. They wish to use multiple Internet of Things (IoT) ultrasonic pipe flow meters to remotely monitor their clients’ home systems. Data gathered with these meters will be used to help customers manage their risk profiles. Most existing commercial ultrasonic pipe flow meters are expensive and come with many features HSB does not wish to use. The objective of this project is to develop a low-cost IoT ultrasonic pipe flow meter to detect flows within household water pipes. Flow rate accuracy is not preferred; the meter only needs to detect if the flow rate is high, low, or in reverse. To prevent third party liabilities to third party installers, the meters must be non-intrusive and require no plumbing work. A prototype design was developed based on the transit time measurement principle of flow metering. With this principle, flow rate can be calculated using the upstream and downstream transit times, pipe diameter, and the inclination angle. The prototype was created using an Arduino RoboRed and two modified HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors. One HC-SR04 is positioned to measure the upstream transit time while the other measures the downstream transit time. The transmitter is placed on the upper surface of the pipe while the receiver is directly facing it on the opposite side. The transmitted signals’ paths are at an angle to the pipe’s axis. The Arduino measures the time it takes for each transmitted signal to reach the receiver and calculates the flow rate based on the measured times. To test and validate our sensor, we modified an existing water loop system to mimic home water systems. The motor attached to the pump allows us to test our sensor for variable flow rates and pipes can be interchanged to test on different pipe sizes and materials.