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The Monterey Bay Research Institute (MBARI) is using Sierra Instruments’ mass-flow controllers to discover how increasing atmospheric CO2 levels are affecting marine life in seas.

The Monterey Bay and our oceans are changing rapidly due to the influx of CO2 in the atmosphere.

According to Dr Barry, a benthic biologist and senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Research Institute, about one-third of human CO2 gas emissions in our atmosphere are absorbed by the ocean, making the ocean 30 per cent more acidic than 100 years ago.

’Ocean acidification’ is the term that has been coined to describe this process.

Early in his experiments, Barry was frustrated with the performance of the mass-flow controllers that controlled gas inputs to his aquarium tanks.

After research and discussions with Sierra Instruments, he chose the company’s Smart-Trak model 100 with its Pilot Module gas feature.

Barry and his team installed nine Smart-Trak Model 100 units to control mixtures of O2, N2 and CO2 to his aquarium tanks.

Conditions in the tanks are varied to simulate past, present, and future ocean conditions.

The O2 levels vary from one per cent to 20 per cent, N2 from 80 per cent to 99 per cent and C02 levels from 180-1,500ppm, depending on the desired atmosphere or ocean condition Barry wants to create.

In these environments Barry measures the development, growth, and physiological responses of the marine animals to CO2 stress.

Using the Pilot Module, Barry can change his CO2 flow rates instantly and remotely, creating many varieties of oceanic atmospheres with the same set of conditions – same water, temperature, and animals.

He can plug his Pilot Module into any one of the nine Model 100s, makes a change in the gas flow-rate, therefore creating another atmosphere.

When he unplugs it, the gas flow will not deviate.

If Barry wants to change his atmosphere again by entering different flow rates, it is said to take only seconds.

Barry states that accuracy is essential for these experiments.

If his CO2 readings are off by just 0.1 per cent, the acidity of his simulated oceanic environment will change drastically, disrupting the experiment, requiring many hours of work to reset conditions and restart the experiment.

Sierra Instruments

With in excess of 150 locations in more than 50 countries, our Flow Measurement and Control Division is known for the design and manufacture of innovative high-performance fluid flow measurement and control instrumentation for nearly any gas, liquid and steam application spanning across global industries as diverse as scientific research, semiconductor, wastewater treatment, iron and steel, clean energy, aerospace and biotech, to name a few.

Experience our passion for flow

Our Flow Measurement and Control Division designs and manufactures high-precision capillary-sensor-based mass flowmeters and controllers for gas flow in applications. We also design and manufacture immersible thermal mass, transit-time ultrasonic, vortex shedding and multivariable flow instruments in both standard and customised versions for applications in industrial and hazardous environments.

Our technologies precisely measure and/or control very low flows of gas down to less than 1sccm full scale, as well as extremely high flows of gas, liquid and steam. With rugged product design, cutting-edge innovation and a worldwide team of flow experts, we know you will 'experience our passion for flow'.

Our flowmeters and controllers provide a high return on investment.

  • Direct mass flowmeters provide improved accuracy and cost efficiencies
  • Direct mass flowmeters do not need pressure or temperature compensation equipment or flow computers
  • Flowmeters provide immunity to process changes in P&T, leading to very repeatable measurements
  • In gases, density is highly variable. Unlike mass flowmeters, volumetric gas flowmeters are very sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature
  • Mass flowmeters are a necessity in more than 80 per cent of all industrial processes such as those involving chemical reactions, combustion, respiration and HVAC, which are based on mass flow, not volumetric flow

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