Implementation and evaluation of coherent synthetic aperture radar processing for level measurements of bulk goods with an FMCW-system
- 1Forschungsgruppe Hochfrequenztechnik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
- 2Lehrstuhl für Elektronische Schaltungstechnik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
Abstract. In industrial process measurement instrumentation, radar systems are well established for the measurement of filling levels of liquids in tanks. Level measurements of bulk goods in silos, on the other hand, are more challenging because the material is heaped up and its surface has typically a relatively complex shape. In this paper, the application of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) reconstruction with a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar system for level measurements of bulk goods is evaluated. In the proposed monostatic setup, echo signals are acquired at discrete antenna positions on top of the silo. Spatially resolved information about the surface contour of a bulk good heap is reconstructed by coherent 'delay and sum' processing. The concept has been experimentally evaluated with a 24 to 26 GHz FMCW radar system mounted on a linear stepping motor positioning unit. Measurements on a thin metal wire at different range and on a curved test-object with a diffusely scattering surface have been performed to analyze the system's point spread function (PSF) and performance. Constant range and azimuth resolutions (−6 dB) of 15 cm and 8 cm, respectively, have been obtained up to a range of 6 m, and results of further evaluations show that the proposed concept allows more accurate and reliable level reconstructions of surface profiles compared to the conventional approach with measurements at a single antenna position.