Flow measurement is a complex process with diverse applications, including measuring the flow rate in an open channel, making it an essential part of many industries like oil and gas, and treating wastewater. The accuracy of this process is determined by the device used in the system, which is the flow meter.
Flow meters help industries attain brilliant results that can dictate a loss or gain in the organization. In this article, we’ve covered some essential things you need to know about flow meter technology. So, take a read!
What Is A Flow Meter?
A flow meter, notwithstanding its measuring principle, is utilized to oversee or supervise flow rate in real-time. Also, it serves as an input or assessment for precise control of the flow rate. But flow meters are also utilized for volumetric control of gradients in chromatography systems.
Other than that, these devices can be used to regulate and monitor the recirculation of flow rate for filtration operations, as well. What’s more, this technology is denoted with multiple appellations, for instance, flow rate sensor and flow gauge. Even so, they all have one goal, which is to measure flow.
Types of Flow Meters
Flow meters can be used in different kinds of applications, either to measure the mass or volumetric flow rate. The specified application illustrates the capacity and type of flow meter. There are many types of flow meters available today. Here are some of them:
Orifice Flow Meter
This device is one of the most commonly used flow meter technology. It’s being utilized by many due to its easy construction and simplicity. Orifice flow meters can be used for steam, gases, and clean liquid.
Positive Displacement Flow Meters
Positive displacement (PD) flowmeters calculate the flow rate by gauging the fluid’s volume traversing through them. The process involves entrapping the liquid into a container-like vessel to determine its flow rate.
PD flow meters can be used to measure the flow rate of meager or intermittent flows. It’s somehow similar to filling a bucket with water up to a predetermined level, and then it’s allowed to flow out.
Also, these meters are suitable for any density or viscosity. Another thing, they are undoubtedly robust because they remain uninfluenced by the pipe’s turbulence. Oval gear, Rotary piston, and Nutating disc flow meters fall under this type of flow meter.
Velocity Flow Meters
Velocity meters measure the flow rate by calculating the fluid’s velocity that’s passing through them. The fluid’s velocity offers a definite and specific measure of its flow rate because they’re proportional to each other.
This flow meter can gauge the velocity of the fluid in multiple ways, wherein the utilization of a turbine is an example. Contingent upon how the velocity is obtained, there are many types of velocity meters, including the Pitot tube, Turbine, Pelton Wheel, and Paddle flow meters.
Mass Flow Meters
This flow meter technology gives users an estimate of the flow rate by getting the mass of the fluid traversing through them. Mass flow meters are commonly used in chemical industries, in which point mass is critical.
Coriolis and Thermal meters are examples of mass flow meters. With regards to thermal flow meters, the fluid flow cools down the conductor or rod, which is preheated to a specified degree.
The heat loss will then be used to know the flow rate of the fluid. Meanwhile, Coriolis flowmeter uses the Coriolis principle, wherein the flow passes through a vibrating tube; thus, causing a change in amplitude, phase shift, or frequency, giving an estimate of its flow rate.
Open Channel Flow Meters
These meters are used to calculate a fluid’s flow rate on a free surface. Weir and Flume flow meters are examples of open channel flow meters. These devices use floats or bubblers to gauge the depth of the fluid. From this depth, the fluid flow rate is obtained.
Things to Consider When Choosing A Flow Meter
Determine if you need remote or local output and operation. Is the liquid conductive, slurry, clean, or viscous? Moreover, when it comes to the features, seek for the following features:
- Ease of installation
- Can withstand vibration
- Stable Output
- Improved accuracy
- Safe operation
The most important and critical functions of a flow meter include linearity, range, accuracy, and repeatability. When choosing a flow meter technology, you need to look for these requirements.
Every flow meter technology has its own set of advantages and drawbacks. For this reason, it’s crucial to match the requirements of your application with those of the particular device. When both the needs and features match, you can expect outstanding results. Keep in mind that several considerations of the flow meter and application are needed so that you can find the right fit.