The University of Southampton

Multi-modal and self-cleaning instrumentation for the oil and gas industry using thick-film materials

Sensor Technology
EPSRC (GR/R35858/01)

The project is a multi-disciplinary venture to design and manufacture novel instrumentation for monitoring oil/gas/water separation processes (up to 150 bar) and temperatures up to 150C. Multi-modal distributed sensors immune to sludge deposition will provide measurements in the hostile multi-phase environment. The instrument will be tested in offshore separators and will have potential for use down-hole.

Conventional sensor materials are not suitable for use at the high temperatures and pressures encountered down-hole. The ideal candidates are thick-film conductors and piezoelectrics implemented on ceramic substrates. They will combine outstanding mechanical and electrical properties, which will be thoroughly tested for robustness and finctionality in this novel application. To obtain a reliable and accurate picture of phase distribution, two measurement modalities will be required: electrical impedance and ultrasonic. This multi-modal measurement will be modelled and then tested experimentally. Sensor surfaces will be kept free from deposits by using active control mechanisms.

Primary investigators

  • Neil White
  • Prof. Tom Dyakowski, UMIST
  • Dr Jack Hale, Newcastle University
  • Dr Artur Jaworski, Manchester University

Secondary investigator


  • Advanced Research Partnership

Associated research groups

  • Electronic Systems and Devices Group
  • Electronics and Electrical Engineering
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