How do Turbine Flowmeters work?
Turbine flowmeters works by using the energy of the fluid passing through it to move a rotor within the water or other fluid passing through. There are blades on this rotor, which are angled in such a way so they use the fluid to create a rotation, and move the rotor around in a clockwise or anti-clockwise motion.
The rotor blades are attached to a rod, which is able to spin through the use of bearings. The faster the fluid moves through the turbine flowmeter, the faster the rotor blades turn and, as a result, the faster the rod spins.
You can monitor how fast or slow the blades are turning by attaching a sensor or magnet onto the blades. Using the magnetic method, the magnets are attached onto the blades and as they spin, they pass a small piece of metal embedded at a certain point within the flowmeter itself. This way, using the time it takes between each time the magnet connects with the piece of metal, the speed of the fluid can be judged accurately. The brilliance of this system is that these sensors can work whichever way the fluid flows through the turbine flowmeter.
Turbine Flowmeter Design
Quite simply, a turbine flowmeter is just a propeller in a tube. The most important thing is to keep the turbine moving freely. The design of a turbine flowmeter means there is very little drop in pressure and it is for this reason that they are regarded as one of the most accurate measurement tools. The key components in a turbine flowmeter is the tube or “body” of the unit, a rotor and support, spindle and a magnetic pickup which measures the speed of the liquid.
Applications of a Turbine Flowmeter
Turbine flowmeters are used to monitor clean liquids in chemical, petrol and water industries. For example, when used by water companies to transport water through long distances, they measure how fast the water is moving and can alert the companies to any problems or breakdowns.
Lifespan of a Turbine Flowmeter
While there are many different factors that affect the lifespan of turbine flowmeters, the average lifespan should be many years. You need to maintain and clean the turbine flowmeter regularly to make sure there is no grit or debris that can cause problems in the flow stream. Mainly the life expectancy depends on the size of the turbine and what it is being used to measure.
Pros and cons of a Turbine Flowmeter
The cost of manufacturing turbine flowmeters is actually fairly low, this means that the cost is low at the point of sale. A turbine flowmeter can move clean fluids, which have a low viscosity (such as water) very easily and have a very low risk of breakdown or problems. Turbine flowmeters can also be used with other low viscosity fluids but the rate of breakdown or problems increases if you use a more viscous fluid.
Used with the right liquids, they are a very reliable system. They are a simple design, which is easy to understand and therefore not difficult to keep maintained and working. They perform well and are easy to install and operate.
Problems can occur if installation is not done carefully and correctly, and it will need checking often to make sure calibration is correct.
Risk associated with Turbine Flowmeter failure
One of the main problems you might find with a turbine flowmeter is not with the blades itself, but the bearings that sit at the end of the central rod. These bearings need to be working fully to make sure the turbine is performing as it should and you are getting accurate readings from the internal sensor.
Your flowmeter should also be checked for corrosion and if there are any signs of the metal corroding, then it should be removed and replaced as soon as possible. This will prevent further damage happening to your system.
Managing Turbine Flowmeter Failure
As the bearings are the part of the flowmeter which can wear out the quickest, make sure they are regularly inspected and maintained. If they need to be greased or lubricated then make sure this is carried out on a routine basis. If your bearings show signs of stress or wear, then replace them before they break down, as leaving them until they break completely can damage other parts of your turbine flowmeter.
The internal parts of the device should be wear resistant, but regular maintenance should still be carried out. Vibrations can cause the turbine flowmeter to break or wear down more quickly so every effort should be made to minimize vibrations around the unit itself.
Another thing that can damage your flowmeter is pulsing of the fluid itself, so the rate at which the fluid is flowing through the meter needs to be kept constant. A strainer or filter can be added to the turbine flowmeter to prevent any debris or grit getting into the system, as this can also cause damage to the internal workings.
Choosing a Replacement Turbine Flowmeter
Making sure you choose the right turbine flowmeter for your system will mean you won’t see breakdowns or maintenance problems as regularly. There are a few things to consider before buying. Firstly, look at the price. If you need an accurate, reliable system, then the cheapest product on the market will probably not do the job.
You should also look at the level of accuracy you need. If you are using it for something that doesn’t need a very high degree of accuracy, then you can get an inexpensive flowmeter and it will do the job.
Chemicals that you are using or abrasive substances should also be considered. If you are using a harsh chemical, choose a flowmeter made from a material that is resistant to the chemical. Lastly, make sure your flowmeter has a warranty or is guaranteed to last for a set amount of time to prevent any unnecessary breakdowns or maintenance issues.