Ice fraction measurement of ice slurries through electromagnetic attenuation.

Alastair Hales, Joe Quarini, Geoffrey Hilton, Dominic Ash, Dan McBryde, Eddie Lucas, Xiao Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Ice pigging is a process used by many industries for pipe cleaning and product recovery. Ice slurries, used to form an ice pig, are generated using an aqueous solution of water and a freezing point depressant, typically salt (NaCl) at 5% salinity. The ‘thickness’ of an ice slurry is key to the ice pig's performance, and this paper investigates a new non-invasive method of ice fraction measurement. Electromagnetic (EM) waves, with a frequency of 2.5 GHz, are absorbed rapidly by water molecules, but pass through ice with little drop in intensity, due to key differences in the materials' atomic structures. This phenomenon is exploited, and results show ice fraction can be approximated to within ±1.2% using a VNA
spectrum analyser, then mathematical manipulation and analysis. This rivals the error in calorimetry, ±1.3%, which currently seen as the ‘gold standard’ in ice fraction measurement across the industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98 - 104
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Refrigeration
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Ice pigging
  • electromagnetic wave absorption


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