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Vent Valve

D.P. Transmitter

Net Flow Measurement


Check Valve

To Plant




D.P. Transmitter

Total (Surge Control) Flow Measurement


Centrifugal Air Compressor

Application Bulletin No. 7

Centrifugal Compressor Surge Control

Centrifugal Compressor Surge Control

Centrifugal compressors require an accurate and repeatable flow measurement for Surge Control. Low static pressures at the compressor inlet, and limited straight run of pipe make this a very difficult application. Large volume compressed air flow measurement has often been implemented using orifice plates and split-tube insertion style averaging Pitot tube sensors. Both of these primaries are relatively low in initial cost but the high differential loss on an orifice and the requirements of both primaries for enough straight run, create additional cost not seen in the initial estimate.

A Superior Solution
Thermo Brandts patented NZP1000 Series Nozzle Pitot Air/Gas Flow Sensor offers a superior solution to this often encountered measurement need. The NZP1000 employs a two-piece carbon or stainless steel flanged body with an integral flow straightener and a Nozzle-Pitot Array. The flow straightener provides the equivalent of seven to nine diameters straight run upstream. The nozzle not only corrects disturbances in the velocity profile before it is measured by the pitot array, but also doubles the velocity at the point of measurement thereby quadrupling the velocity pressure. The result is a superior signal-to-noise ratio for control applications with No Upstream Straight Run piping requirement, `0.5% accuracy and permanent energy loss only 5 to 50% of that seen in a traditional orifice installation.

Application Bulletin No. 7: Centrifugal Compressor Surge Control

A Tough Air Flow Application

Centrifugal Compressor Surge Control is an extremely tough air flow application. With larger pipe sizes, that are desirable for lower energy loss, providing adequate straight run for traditional measurement methods can be cost and space prohibitive. Even with a favorable amount of straight run, the signal from an orifice or insertion pitot is noisy due to flow swirling and wall-effect turbulence. The NZP1000 Series combines Thermo Brandts patented nozzle-pitot technology with integral flow straighteners for a superior signal-to-noise ratio and a No Upstream Straight Run requirement. These features make the NZP1000 the air flow measurement instrument of choice for Centrifugal Compressor Surge Control applications. The additional benefit of the No Upstream Straight Run requirement of the NZP1000 is that the discharge volume before the check valve can be minimized to protect valuable machines from reverse rotation due to mechanical failures.

Velocity Doubling
The NZPs velocity doubling is achieved by using a low loss nozzle. This produces four times the DP of a typical Pitot in the same size line, with only 44% permanent loss of measured DP. The turndown of the NZP1000 with 0.5% accuracy is excellent with a range of 175 to 6000 feet/min at STP. At 100 psig and 80F, this gives the approximate flow range in SCFM as shown in the following chart.

Nom. NZP Size 4 Inch 6 Inch 8 Inch 10 Inch 12 Inch 14 Inch

SCFM Range @ 100 PSIG & 80 F 60 - 2,000 130 - 4,500 235 - 8,000 350 - 12,000 500 - 17,000 700 - 24,000

Saving Money
The chart below demonstrates the savings that can be realized on typical air compressors when orifices are replaced by Thermo Brandts NZP1000 low loss flow primaries. Pressure drops anywhere in the compressed air system lead to lower compression efficiency (~0.5%/psi) and volume production. Even while saving energy in such installations, the NZP1000 provides a signal-to-noise ratio that is typically five to ten times that of an orifice plate. This translates into a faster, more accurate and stable control package.

Higher flows can be measured using high velocity reinforced flow straighteners and ruggedized Pitot construction. Flows at other pressures and temperatures, or even other gases, can be easily calculated using Thermo Brandts FlowCalc 3.0 for Windows available from Thermo Brandt or your Thermo Brandt Representative.

For Windows 95/NT/98

Nom. SIZE SCFM Flow Orifice Beta NZP PSID Saved Annual Savings*
*Estimated at $.05/kWh

4 Inch 2,4000 0.716 0.49 $ 554

6 Inch 1.600 0.348 1.77 $1,463


For over 20 years, Thermo Brandt Instruments has been the recognized leader in the measurement of air/gas flow and very low differential pressure in industrial applications. Thermo Brandt offers a complete line of pitot/static probes and arrays, Multivariable & D.P. Transmitters, the unique Nozzle-Pitot flow sensor and a complete family of Current to Pressure (I/P) and Pressure to Current (P/I) transducers. Contact Thermo Brandt Instruments, Thermo Brandts representative or visit our website for further information, specifications and application assistance.
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Thermo Brandt Instruments, Inc.

Windows and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

MD01-0007-00, JULY 1999. All Specifications Subject To Change Without Notice.

P.O. Box 1190, 3333 Airpark Road Fuquay, North Carolina 27526 USA Telephone: (919) 552-9011 Facsimile: (919) 552-9716