Industrial Process Control

Specialized equipment for industrial measurements and automatic control have been developed (16) (see "pH Instrumentation"). In general, the pH of an industrial process need not be controlled with great accuracy. Consequently, frequent standardization of the cell assembly may be unnecessary. On the other hand, the ambient conditions, for example, temperature and humidity, under which the industrial control measurements are made may be such that the pH meter must be much more robust than those intended for laboratory use. To avoid costly downtime for repairs, pH instruments may be constructed of modular units, permitting rapid removal and replacement of a defective subassembly.

The pH meter usually is coupled to a data recording device and often to a pneumatic or electric controller. The controller governs the addition of reagent so that the pH of the process stream is maintained at the desired level.

Immersion-cell assemblies are designed for continuous pH measurement in tanks, troughs, or other vessels containing process solutions at different levels under various conditions of agitation and pressure. The electrodes are protected from mechanical damage and sometimes are provided with devices to remove surface deposits as they accumulate. Process flow chambers are designed to introduce the pH electrodes directly into piped sample streams or into bypass sample loops that may be pressurized. Electrode chambers of both types usually contain a temperature-sensing element that controls the temperature-compensating circuits of the measuring instrument.

Glass electrodes for process control do not differ materially from those used for pH measurements in the laboratory, but the emphasis in industrial application is on rugged construction to withstand both mechanical stresses and high pressures. Pressurized salt bridges, which ensure slow leakage of bridge solution into the process stream even under very high ambient pressures, have been developed. For less-severe process-monitoring conditions, reference electrodes are available with no-flow polymeric or gel-filled junctions that can be used without external pres-


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