Miami University

Instrumentation Laboratory Project Page

Project: Interlock System for Water flow and Electrical Current Sensing

Department: Physics

Primary Investigator: Dr. Burcin Bayram

Purpose: A sophisticated interlock system was built to protect our sodium molecular heatpipe. This system has dual properties: it has (1) the control of the amount of current supplied to the heaters by
adjusting the variac while monitoring the electric current in real-time and (2) the control of water-flow rate which cools the 4-arm side windows continuously while the rest of the heatpipe is hot. For
example, if water flow is lost while heatpipe is hot the interlock alarm goes off and shuts down the heater. This interlock system also notifies us if one of the heaters is faulty.

Without this interlock system there could be a major potential problem on the heatpipe windows such as sodium metal leaking towards the 4-arm side windows. Thus, it is critical to monitor and control the
water-flow and electrical current simultaneously in the heatpipe oven system.

IL Comment: Researcher required a system that would monitor the electrical current (Amps) being “pulled” by 4 independent heater circuits that are part of a bigger experiment apparatus. In the event of a heater failure (i.e. zero current draw), the system needs to shutdown the remaining heaters to keep the system all at the same temperature. If the temperature were to be higher in one area vs. another, it would ruin and\or destroy their experiment(s) and apparatus.
The design using 4 independent current interlock sensors that are connected together in series along with a water flow sensor that is used for cooling the experiment apparatus. For the system to initially turn on, the water must be flowing at the correct rate. After turn on, the system continually monitors the current draw along with showing the current draw on four independent current meters on the front panel. In order to alert researchers of an alarm condition, an audible alarm also exists in the instrumentation.

Cost to researcher: $373.16

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