The need to measure the dynamic void fraction (the proportion of flowing bubbly liquid that is gas) is common across many power, processing and manufacturing industries. Many such pipelines and liquids are optically opaque, and work on margins that require a low cost solution that is not commensurate with the size of the challenge. Such a solution will therefore be a compromise, and in this paper costs are reduced by using a narrowband acoustic solution that cannot, on its own, contain enough information to characterise the void fraction in real time unambiguously. The ambiguity is reduced using likely estimates of the general shape of the bubble size distribution so that, with a single source-receiver pair attached to the outside of the pipe, the absolute gas content can be estimated. Whilst the data that are required a priori (the general shape of the bubble size distribution) are not identical to the output of the inversion (the absolute void fraction of gas entrained as bubbles in the flow), the requirement for such a priori information could limit the usefulness of the technique in industry.
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