Basic Knowledge on Flow Meters

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In ancient history, resources are abundant, but with the fast-growing population of the earliest civilization, it’s either compromise or face the wrath of bloody conquest. To avoid bloodshed, the earliest civilization were civilized enough to meet an agreement regarding everything, and this would include water resource. The wisest engineers of their time created a way to distribute the water from a nearby river equitably. They aim to justifiably distribute enough water to each city with accordance to their population’s needs. Thus, given only the flow of the river and with the help of mathematics, they strategically developed a way to measure the amount of distribution of water in the aqueducts of each city. The answer to their problem is flow measurement or flow meter. Up to this day, this system and the works are still applicable to our modern day plumbing and has helped engineers throughout the globe in flow measurement challenges.

Flow Measurement Importance:

Typically, in a household setting, this is very much needed to regulate gas or water flow through installation or fixing. In layman’s term, it helps your plumber troubleshoot with your clogged sink or toilet. But for mass production factories, engineers like chemical, mechanical and application engineers use this to understand what went wrong, how to maximize production, if the process is accurate. Flow measurement is essential to have a smooth-flowing operation of their products.

What is Flow Meter?

The most basic stuff you need to know about flow measurement is flow meter. Basically, this is an instrument that measures volumetric flow (Q) denoted in a unit of cubic meters per second, linear or nonlinear mass indicated by kilograms, pounds, etc.. A typical flow meter design would include parts like paddlewheel sensor, locknut, built-in temperature sensor, and pipe tee.

Flow Meter Appropriation:

There are all sorts of type of flow meters available in the market, but you can’t just buy one and try it on the operation. Unless you know what you are doing and you were told to buy so, other than that, you won’t have a problem. Though having a lot of options for this instrument is liberating, this is also a disadvantage for personnel. Personnel should know how a particular device works to avoid miscalculations. Staff should also be knowledgeable for recalibration if needed. Staff should also be prepared for casual maintenance. There’s a lot more to consider like fixing the instrument, etc. The flow meter should be chosen wisely to reduce expenses.

Guidelines When Choosing a Flow Meter:

  1. What fluid do you intend to measure?
  2. How viscous is the liquid you intend to measure?
  3. Do you also want a rate measurement?
  4. Which do you prefer a primary local display on your instrument or electronic signal output?
  5. What are the limitations of your chosen instrument based on flow rate, temperature, and pressure?
  6. Will the liquid not dissolve your instrument?

Common Types of Flow Meter:

Ultrasonic Flow Meter:

If you intend in using this instrument is waste waters or other dirty fluids; ultrasonic flow meter is more applicable in this kind of areas. The Doppler Effect or the frequency shift is necessary during operations to harness suspended particles and gas bubbles at large.

Variable Area Flow Meter:

Also called Rotameters, this flow meter is a low cost and a simple instrument efficient for liquid and gas flow measurement. It also displays a wide rangeability of flow measurement, low-pressure drop, and linear output.

Vortex Meters:

If you want an instrument that quickly detects sudden fluctuations in process conditions or turbine meters, this flow meter is what you are looking for. Vortex meter possesses a low sensitivity quality to variation in the operation. This type also is available in many sizes and doesn’t sting in the wallet; that is why many users prefer it.

Spring and Piston Flow Meter:

This type somewhat looks likes a rotameters because of the tapered tube, used in both instruments. It must be situated in the no-flow position through a calibrated spring. This is more preferred than rotameters because it is user-friendly and economically friendly. It can also transmit electrical signals, and the design is much simpler.

Paddlewheel Sensors:

It is the most popular flow meter for water and water-like substances, but it is essential to check the compatibility of the fluid to be measured and the sensor.  The rotor of this instrument is situated perpendicularly to the flow; thus, a better opportunity for personnel to avoid contact in case of toxic fluid is measured.

Turbine Flow Meter:

This instrument gives an accurate reading for the flow measurement, providing only a 0.5 probability of error. The Turbine Flow meter looks like a paddlewheel sensor with the rotor perpendicularly situated to the flow and is hanged in the fluid stream. Due to its accuracy, it is highly recommendable if the liquid to be measured is made of clean and viscous liquid.

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