Level sensors detect the level of liquids and other fluids and fluidized solids, including slurries, granular materials, and powders that exhibit an upper free surface. Substances that flow become essentially horizontal in their containers (or other physical boundaries) because of gravity whereas most bulk solids pile at an angle of repose to a peak. The substance to be measured can be inside a container or can be in its natural form (e.g., a river or a lake). The level measurement can be either continuous or point values. Continuous level sensors measure level within a specified range and determine the exact amount of substance in a certain place, while point-level sensors only indicate whether the substance is above or below the sensing point. Generally the latter detect levels that are excessively high or low.
Conductive level sensors are ideal for the point level detection of a wide range of conductive liquids such as water, and is especially well suited for highly corrosive liquids such as caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, ferric chloride, and similar liquids.
Ultrasonic level sensors are used for non-contact level sensing of highly viscous liquids, as well as bulk solids. They are also widely used in water treatment applications for pump control and open channel flow measurement. The sensors emit high frequency (20 kHz to 200 kHz) acoustic waves that are reflected back to and detected by the emitting transducer.
Ultrasonic level sensors are also affected by the changing speed of sound due to moisture, temperature, and pressures. Correction factors can be applied to the level measurement to improve the accuracy of measurement.