Level Measurement: The Very Last Resort


When few devices will work with your application or there is no other way to make measurements, nuclear measuring products may be the only working option to use.

How do you make the measurement that can't be made?

In our February 2007 issue, we looked at how to apply level measurement by considering the application. ("First the Application, Then the Product,"). We talked about a level measurement continuum, and handed out a nifty PDF that you can post on your wall to help you sort out the selection process.

Now I want to talk about the level product that "dares not speak its name." It is the level measurement product of last resort—the one you take to your boss after every other one has failed. It's...nuclear.

Nuclear level gauges will work in nearly any level measurement application. You can see that from the chart below. But nobody uses them for the simple and easy applications. Why? Because they're relatively expensive, and they're truly a pain in the posterior because of regulation. On the other hand, they actually work in applications where nothing else does, and they require little or no maintenance.

There are some common (for difficult level applications, anyway) applications that only nuclear level gauges will handle. These include agitated tanks with internals, some interface measurements, moving or vibrating granulars, very hot or cryogenic liquids and thick-walled vessels.

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