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Standing water gauge

  1. Mar 6, 2006 #1

    Working at an entry level engineering position, I have been assigned an entry level engineering project. This particular one deals with creating a device that will easily allow you to measure levels of standing water on a given surface. The environment I work in is very sensitive in regards to hydroplaning concerns and at the moment, everything is eyeballed. “But, Evgeny, why not just use a ruler?” you may say - well, two reasons. First, a fairly accurate measurement is needed, and since the medium being measured is rainfall, normally not more than a few millimeters at once, a ruler would not be accurate enough. Second is the fact that oft-times the conditions of work will not allow the person using the device to have enough visibility to be able to read the notch marks and take a good reading.

    The device is mostly going to be used in the following manner: an inspection of all sensitive surfaces is conducted every 4 hours, every 2 hours or more if conditions so require. These inspections cannot occupy the surfaces for long times, and as such something quick and easy to use is needed. Ideally, of course, an electronic solution would be needed. Problem is – the facility has one that measures snow created by a respected company. Simplicity of use goes down the drain, and not many inspectors bother using it because it is so complicated to use (and I don’t mean the UI is bad – all the calibrations, zero-sets, exposure sets, etc throw them off).

    Right now, my line of thinking is illustrated in the attached (and poorly MS-Paint-ed) picture. I call it “the Steelhandgrenate depth gauge”. Essentially, the top of this device is open. The inspector would place this device large radius side down onto the surface. The water level inside the device would then be equallent to the water level on the surface. They would then close the opening of the device in a manner still to be determined, and flip it over so that the water all flows into the smaller cylinder. Because the radius of that smaller container will be much less, the amount of water will be “amplified”, allowing for an accurate graduated scale. Inspector goes back into their vehicle, turns on the light, holds the device against it, gets water reading, voila.

    This is all very nice in theory; however, I have no clue how well this is going to work. So my question to all of you is, how much am I overcomplicating this problem? Any recommendations on a simpler device or ways to improve my design are more than welcome.

    Thanks in advance,
    -Evgeny Ternovsky

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