Additively Manufactured Conformal Microwave Sensors for Applications in Oil Industry

  • Muhammad Akram Karimi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Depleting oil reserves and fluctuating oil prices have necessitated to increase the efficiency of oil production process. This thesis is focused on developing low-cost sensors, which can increase oil production efficiency through real-time monitoring of oil wells and help in safe transport of oil products from the wells to the refineries. Produced fluid from an oil well is a complex mixture of oil, water and gases, which needs to be quantified for various strategic and operational decisions. For many years, test separators have been used to separate oil, water and gases into three separate streams and then to analyse them individually. However, test separators are being replaced by multiphase flow meters (MPFM) which can analyse the complex mixture of oil, water and gas without separating it. However, existing MPFMs are either intrusive or require fluid mixing before the sensing stage. In contrast to existing techniques, first part of this thesis presents a microwave sensor, which can measure water fraction in oil in a non-intrusive way without requiring it to be mixed. Gas fraction sensing can also be performed using the same microwave sensor, which is an on-going work. The sensor operates on dielectric measurement principles and comprises a microstrip T-resonator that has been optimized for a 3D pipe surface. Certain locations on an oil field have limited available space, for which we have also presented a compact version of the microwave water-fraction sensor in this thesis. In this version, metallic housing of the sensor has been used to function as a ground plane for the coaxially located spiral resonator. This housing also protects the sensor from environmental effects. In addition to the efficient production of oil, its safe transport is also a concern for the industry. It is physically impossible to inspect a network of thousands of kilometres of pipelines manually. The existing leak detectors suffer from low sensitivity, high false alarms and dependence on environmental effects. In the last part of this thesis, we present a flexible ringresonator based leak detector, which can be clamped at vulnerable locations along the pipeline for early leak detection.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorAtif Shamim (Supervisor)


  • Microwave printed sensors
  • Multiphase flow meter
  • Oil and gas
  • Leak detector
  • Water cut meter
  • Downhole sensors

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