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Flow measurement

Flow measurement
Important variable in plant operation
Measured primarily for determining the amount of fluid

Fluid types
Less or highly viscous
Clear or opaque
Clean or dirty
Wet or dry
Erosive or corrosive

Fluid flow type

Stream line or viscous or laminar
Combined viscous or turbulent

Fluid flow stream line

Occurs at low velocities
All parts flowing in one direction parallel to walls
Change in cross section means change in direction of flow
Pressure drop flow velocity

Fluid flow - turbulent

Liquid behaves as independent entities
Pressure varies with Kinetic energy
Prop. To square of turbulent flow velocity

Flow meter
Flow measured as a quantity or rate of flow
In terms of weight or flow

Principles of Fluid Flow in


Principles of Fluid Flow in Pipes

The Bernoulli equation
defines the relationship
between fluid velocity (v),
fluid pressure (p), and
height (h) above some
fixed point for a fluid
flowing through a pipe of
varying cross-section, and
is the starting point for
understanding the
principle of the differential
pressure flowmeter.
Bernoullis equation states

Bernoullis equation can be used to measure flow rate.

Consider the pipe section shown in figure below. Since the
pipe is horizontal, h 1 = h 2, and the equation reduces to:

Principles of Fluid Flow in Pipes

The conservation of mass principle requires

Head type
Types of flow meters
Head type meters
Rota meter (variable area
Electromagnetic type
Mechanical type
Ultrasonic flow meter
Vortex flow meter

Produce a pressure difference

when fluid flow is maintained
through them
Diff. Pressure propotional to
square of flow rate
Uses Bernoullis theorem

Head flow meter -types

Orifice meter
Flow nozzle

Differential Pressure

plate is the simplest and
cheapest. It is simply a plate with a
hole of specified size and position
cut in it, which can then clamped
between flanges in a pipeline
The increase that occurs in the
velocity of a fluid as it passes
through the hole in the plate
results in a pressure drop being
developed across the plate.
After passing through this
restriction, the fluid flow jet
continues to contract until a
minimum diameter known as the
vena contracta is reached.

The Orifice Plate

Pressure differnces

Diff. Pressure calculation

The equation to calculate the flow must
be modified to

Orifice meter
Usually pressure tapping is at a distance D & D/2 for up
stream & down stream
D- diameter of pipe
For pipe size 0.05m or more
Orifice to pipe diameter is 0.6

Flow measurement

Normal thickness -0.015 m for pipe with diameter 0.15
m & 0.003 for larger
Materials used bronze, stainless steel, phosphor bronze,
gun metal etc.

Simple, reliable


Poor accuracy,
poor calibration
maintenance problems

Venturi meter

Three sections- venturi meter

Converging conical section at up stream
Cylindrical throat- provides a panel for measurementpressure decreased- flow rate steady
Diverging recovery outlet
Throat to diameter ratio 0.25 to 0.75
Discharge co-efficient 0.9 to 1.0
Made of cast iron, gun metal, stainless steel
May be circular, square or rectangular

The Venturi Meter

The smooth design of the Venturi tube
means that it is less sensitive to erosion
than the orifice plate, and thus more
suitable for use with dirty gases or liquids.
The Venturi tube is also less sensitive to
upstream disturbances, and therefore
needs shorter lengths of straight pipework
upstream of the meter than the equivalent
orifice plate or nozzle.
The disadvantages of the Venturi tube
flowmeter are its size and cost.

Flow nozzle

The nozzle combines some of the best features

of the orifice plate and Venturi meter
Because of its curved inlet, has a discharge
coefficient close to unity.
It is compact and yet, because of its curved
inlet, has a discharge coefficient close to unity.

cheaper than the Venturi tube.
has no sharp edges to erode and cause changes in
well suited for use with dirty and abrasive fluids.
commonly used for high-velocity, high-temperature

Performance and Applications

Although the orifice plate is the cheapest, the cost of the fitting
needed to mount it in the pipeline, particularly if on-line removal is
required, can be significant.

Effective Factors:
the required performance, the properties of the fluid to be metered, the
installation requirements, the environment in which the instrument is to
be used, and, of course, cost.

Variable Area Flowmeters

meters in which the minimum cross-sectional area

available to the flow through the meter varies with
the flow rate.
rotameter and the movable vane meter: used in pipe
weir or flume used in open-channel flows.
movable vane is often used simply as a flow
indicator rather than as a meter.

depending on the bob shape and
density, the tube shape and the fluid
density and viscosity, the flow rate is
linearly proportional to the height of
the bob in the tube

Three types of forces must be
accounted for when analyzing
rotameter performance:




the flow rate is determined by a

conversion factor depending on the
tube dimensions, the mass of the
bob, the pressure and temperature,
and the properties of the fluid.


In larger rotameters where the additional friction is

acceptable, the bob can be allowed to slide up and down a
rod on the tube axis to prevent any sideways motion


Simple and strong construction

High reliability
Low pressure drop
Applicable to a wide variety of gases and liquids
Flow range typically 0.04 L h1 to 150 m3 h1 for water
Flow range typically 0.5 L h1 to 3000 m3 h1 for air
10:1 flow range for given bob-tube combination
Uncertainty 0.4% to 4% of maximum flow
Insensitivity to nonuniformity in the inflow (no upstream straight
piping needed)
Typical maximum temperature 400C
Typical maximum pressure 4 MPa (40 bar)
Low investment cost
Low installation cost

Movable Vane Meter

The resistance
provided by the vane
depends on the vane
position and hence
on the flow rate or
Reynolds number
a recalibration is
necessary when the
fluid is changed

Movable Vane Meter

Flow Measurement Methods:

Positive Displacement Flow meters

It is a mechanical device that parcels liquid up into discrete

volumes and measures the rate at which the parcels need to
be processed so as to maintain the flow
Generally the most accurate flow meters


Advantages PD Meters
Advantages PD Meters
High-quality, high accuracy, a wide range,
and are very reliable, insensitive to inlet
flow profile distortions, low pressure drop
across the meter.
Until the introduction of electronic
correctors and flow controls on other types
of meters, PD meters were most widely
used in batch loading and dispensing
applications. All mechanical units can be
installed in remote locations.

Disadvantages PD Meters
bulky, especially in the larger sizes.
the fluid must be clean for measurement accuracy
and longevity of themeter.
More accurate PD meters are quite expensive.
Have high inertia of the moving parts; a sudden
change in the flow rate can damage the meter.
Only for limited ranges of pressure and temperature
Most PD meters require a good maintenance
schedule and are high repair and maintenance
Recurring costs in maintaining a positive
displacement flowmeter can be a significant factor
in overall flowmeter cost.

Flow Measurement Methods:

Turbine Flow meters

Consist of a small
vaned wheel (like a
propeller) in the flow
The propeller spin
according to how fast
the fluid flows past it
The rate of rotation will
give us an indication of
the flow rate

Flow Measurement Methods:

Electromagnetic Flow meters
Can only work on
conductive fluids
Use Faradays law of
induction, which states
that in the presences
of a magnetic field B, a
voltage E will be
induced across a
length L of liquid
moving with a velocity
v according to:


Flow Measurement Methods:

Vortex Shedding Flow meters

Vortex meters can be used on most clean

liquid, vapor or gas. However, they are
generally chosen for applications where
high flow rangeability is required. Due to
break down of vortices at low flow rates,
vortex meters will cut off at a low flow limit.
Reverse flow measurement is not an
option. For regular service applications
this meter is the meter of choice by many
end users.



Basic Flow Equation: Q = A * V

Flowing Velocity of Fluid: V = (f * d) / St
f = Shedding Frequency
d = Diameter of Bluff Body
St = Stouhal Number (Ratio between Bluff Body Diameter and Vortex Interval)
A = Area of Pipe

Works according to the principle that an

obstruction in a pipe will produce turbulence in
a known fashion
A centrally placed object, known as a bluff
body, will shed vortices downstream in a very
predictable and linear way
An ultrasonic beam can be used to detect the
A pressure system can also be used to detect


Why vortex meters are popular in

control system?
Vortex meters use piezoelectric or
capacitance-type sensors to detect the
pressure oscillation around the bluff
body. These detectors respond to the
pressure oscillation with a low voltage
output signal which has the same
frequency as the oscillation. This makes
them very suitable for electronic control

Ultrasonic Flow Meters:

Doppler effect
Ultrasonic flowmeters are ideal for wastewater applications or any dirty
liquid which is conductive or water based.
The basic principle of operation employs the frequency shift (Doppler
Effect) of an ultrasonic signal when it is reflected by suspended particles
or gas bubbles (discontinuities) in motion. Current technology requires
that the liquid contain at least 100 parts per million (PPM) of 100 micron
or larger suspended particles or bubbles.


Ultrasonic Flow Meters:

Doppler effect
The transmitted frequency is altered linearly by being
reflected from particles and bubbles in the fluid. The net result
is a frequency shift between transmitter and receiver
frequencies that is proportional to the velocity of the particles.

Doppler shift

Df C
fT sin qT

Sound velocity
Transmitted frequency

Ultrasonic Flow Meters:

Transit Time
Measure the difference in travel time
between pulses transmitted in a single
path along and against the flow.
Two transducers are used, one upstream
of the other. Each acts as both a
transmitter and receiver for the
ultrasonic beam.