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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Indicative Project

Fluid dynamics in a controlled clearance piston gauge

Background Info

​NMI maintains Australia’s high pressure standards for pressure used in just about every facet of industry including manufacturing, safety, health and environment and key users in these industries require accuracies at the ppm level. High pressure standards are based on accurately machined piston-cylinder systems, which at these high pressures, distort slightly, and affect both the flow of liquid and the forces acting on the piston. Existing models of these effects depend critically on accurate models for the behaviour of fluids under great pressure.

Project Description

​We use a device known as a Controlled Clearance Piston Gauge (CCPG) to characterise the mechanical distortion of piston/cylinder systems when used at very high pressures (up to 500 MPa). This requires a good model for the flow of the fluid transmitting the pressure (Di-2-Ethylhexyl Sebacate), through the very narrow clearance between cylinder and piston.

This project aims to collate the current international knowledge regarding fluid flow (for example non-Newtonian flow, expansion, viscosity etc.) then verify key aspects by designing and conducting a set of experiments using the CCPG.

Examples of Relevant Sudent Courses

Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Material Science, Mechanics, Physics

Student Level



3 to 6 months


Port Melbourne (Vic)


Mechanical, Thermal & Optical Standards

Desirable Skills

Physics or engineering with particular emphasis in fluid dynamics, mechanics or material science.


Neville Owen

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