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Michell hygrometers helping ensure clean high pressure air for marine applications

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article image Michell hygrometers are reliable at UHP conditions
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Ultra-high pressure (UHP) air is a specialised form of compressed air typically used in marine and military applications. Instead of being compressed to the standard 7 barg, UHP air is often supplied at 450 barg, which means dry air without any water vapour is a critical consideration, both for energy savings and for safety. Given the high pressures, even a small amount of water vapour would condense at ambient temperatures.

Air supplied at high pressure is a good source of power, making it ideal for applications such as clearing submarine ballast tanks for ascent to the surface. The high pressure of the air allows the tanks to be cleared quickly, and gives the crew a greater level of control and responsiveness.

However, the cold temperatures below sea, as well as the cooling effect of reducing the pressure of a gas could lead to moisture in the UHP air. If ice is formed, it could block or damage the equipment and completely disable the submarine.

One of Michell’s longstanding customers, S.A. Marine Pty. Ltd from Australia specialises in evaluating and testing UHP air systems. Due to the high pressures involved, it’s vitally important that the air is pure and free from contaminants such as compressor oil particulates or water.

S.A. Marine’s portable test set consists of a desiccant dryer to remove vapour from the air and an on-line hygrometer from Michell to measure the water dew point at delivery. Michell’s ceramic impedance sensor is able to measure the dew point temperature at line pressure, giving S.A. Marine complete confidence in their measurements.

The company also provides an inspection service for breathing air cylinder-filling apparatus for both naval and commercial customers. Even in this application, too much moisture could lead to potential bacterial growth and pose health problems for users. S.A. Marine uses a Michell chilled mirror hygrometer as a high-precision calibration reference on a test rig at their facilities.

S.A. Marine managing director Greg Fahill comments that Michell offers the only hygrometers that are reliable at UHP conditions.

For further information, please visit the AMS Instrumentation and Calibration website www.ams-ic.com.au or call 03-9017 8225, or Freecall (NZ) 0800 442 743.

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