Turbine Flow Meters Pros and Cons

Turbine flow meters are the preferred method for clean, filtered and low viscosity fluids. These meters also are known for their accuracy. The inner workings and design of these meters are very well known within the industry. However, like anything, there are pros and cons of using turbine flow meters. 

Let’s start with the pros. Turbine flow meters are low cost and easy to install and operate. They rarely have performance issues, as their technology is rather simple. These meters are great for gases and liquids and have a relatively wide envelope of flow to them. 

Now the drawbacks. They require frequent calibration. Their installation has to be exact and precise to avoid any errors. They require the fluids passing through to be clean. There are also issues with cavitations and errors due to viscosity changes. 


For more on this subject visit AZO HERE



Video: Flow Meter Calibration Instructions

In this video by the team at Cal State University in San Bernadino, the students walk through the proper instructions of how flow meter calibration works. As a note the gas flow calibration should be done first before any liquid calibration is done. Also included in the demonstration is the software that is used to provide the most accurate readings and compare past calibrations. Flow meter calibration is necessary before starting any project. 


For more about flow meter calibration visit the CSUSB Human Performance Lab HERE

Nanoparticles Improve Chemical Sensors

Nanoparticles Improve Chemical Sensors | Flowmetrics

Infrared sensors have difficulties measuring refractive information and chemical attributes of certain compounds, and a new method from researchers at the University of Houston seeks to improve the results by adding nanoparticles to near infrared sensing. Improvements here would impact the oil and fuel industries in regards to drilling analysis.

The team has created a process by which near infrared light is reflected off nanoporous gold disks with plasmonic hotspots for localized electric field enhancement. By mixing these gold disks into the compound, a beam of near infrared light, 1-2.5 μm wavelength, encourages different reactions at specific wavelengths. This process combines the advantages of both infrared and near infrared sensing techniques. It requires a smaller sample size to obtain the same measurements and therefore will save on costs and resources for analysis of new oil well drill sites.


Clock here for the full article on Chemical Processing.

Water Corrosion Protection

Water Corrosion Protection | Flowmetrics

In steam producing boilers high temperatures and pressures increase the likelihood for corrosion and failure from said damage. The main culprit in this situation comes during the shutdown process, as pressure drops air enters the boiler and oxygen within the air reacts with the metal boiler causing weaknesses and pits in the metal. These small weaknesses can turn into leaks quickly requiring immediate shutdown.

To solve the problem of oxygen entering the system a nitrogen blanket can be installed. This is a system which fills the boiler system with nitrogen before dumping the pressure to eliminate air ingress, nitrogen is non-reactive in the system avoiding further pitting or corrosion. Supplying nitrogen for a blanket can come from bottled sources, liquid supplies, or through pressure swing adsorbtion.


Click here for the full article by Brad Buecker.

The Art of Calibrating

The Art of Calibrating | Flowmetrics

Basic calibrations of sensors combine a known environment tied to an output of that sensor. If a pressure sensor outputs a value of 2 psi when in a vacuum and 102 psi when placed inside a space with known pressure of 100 psi, the operator can calibrate the sensor to output 2 psi less than it currently does. Usually a sensors output is a linear affair between the stimuli and the reading it provides, and in these cases calibration is simple. By calibrating in this way the operator is introducing errors if they are off in any way.

If the testing situations are not accurately known any readings after calibration will have the same discrepancies. The use of a “golden unit” or a standardized unit of measurement to calibrate all sensors against can vastly reduce this type of error.

The calibration procedure should produce consistent results. If the operator can use the same procedure and calibrate the same sensor multiple times to the same end value then a sensor is much more likely to be accurate. If the sensor has varying levels of offset at the end each time, something must be fluctuating between calibrations.


Click here for the full article by Jim McCarty.

Vent Guard Protects Flow Level Indicators

Vent Guard Protects Flow Level Indicators | Flowmetrics

Liquid level gauges report the amount of flow through a pipeline, or the amount of liquid in a container. To accomplish this goal the gauge needs to be vented regularly, and often enough this venting is to the atmosphere. To protect gauges, and the liquid inside of the container, from dust and debris in the air a gravity vent guard is installed.

The simplest level indicator gauge for liquid reservoirs is attached to the container and fills to the same level as the container, but must be subjected to the same pressure as the container to work. Because most reservoirs are not held at pressure or vacuum, both the gauge and container are vented to the atmosphere to equalize the pressure. The problem with venting is that it leaves the liquids open to contamination.

The gravity vent guard was first utilized in a coal burning power plant to prevent fine coal dust suspended in the air from entering the gauge.


Click here for the full article from Industrial Equipment News.

Flow Control Through Smart Components

Flow Control Through Smart Components | Flowmetrics

Hydraulic-power units in Colorado’s Carter Lake are being fit with smart systems to optimize the flow rate of water through the dam. Through the use of PID controllers, position feedback devices, and backup manual valves installed in parallel Carter Lake Hydroelectric maintains the flow of water through its wicket gates in turn regulating the generation of electricity from the flowing water.

The entire hydaulic system is designed for long term use with little maintenance. Redundant oil filters maintain internal hydraulic components, fluid check valves prevent counter-flow from harming sensitive pressure sensors and flow meters. 


Click here for the full article by Leah Scully.

Field Performance of Centrifugal Compressors

Field Performance of Centrifugal Compressors | Flowmetrics

Information systems provide pivotal visualizations of performance for machinery in varied conditions. Being able to see how operations change over time can improve future plans and efficiency, but how the data is presented is often challenging to understand. Most of the difficulty comes from the deviations between expected values and actual field values. These discrepancies can come about because of inlet gas contaminations, or changing environment conditions.

Adjusting the expected performance values of centrifugal compressors to more accurately reflect the field values requires constant monitoring of field conditions and analyzing the differences. The methodology in place to accomplish this task is to monitor both the design conditions and the field conditions, but to manipulate design conditions until expected performance matches field performance as closely as possible.

Software is available to crunch the numbers in real-time to provide expected performance figures based on the field conditions. Field conditions such as pressure, tempreature, and relevant gas mixture composition are input through sensors and automated calculations are performed to result in expected compressor performance curves. Other features allow storage of the data in databases for historical trends and later analysis by engineers for future designs.


Click here for the full article by Massimiliano Di Febo and Pasquale Paganini.

Flow Metering in Street Locations

Flow Metering in Street Locations | Flowmetrics

In the situation of flow control under streets there are two common practices, and one new method to maintain standard regulations; on-site metering, off-site metering, and near-site metering.

On-site metering locates the flow meter in the same manhole as the pipe(s) to be measured. If the manhole installation is classified as a confined space, calibration and maintenance may pose a problem. In this situation multiple operators, a hoist, and gas detection equipment may be mandatory and pose increased costs for maintenance. Some of the difficulties may be avoided by installing remote reading equipment, but to calibrate the flow meter the operator must enter the manhole.

To avoid traffic congestion due to maintenance off-site metering utilizes a manhole placed outside of traffic flow for reading, measuring, and calibrating the flow meter. Concerns with the off-site metering methodology is lag-time between visual observation of the flow rate and calibration of the flow meter. As distance between the measurement location and the remote calibration location increases the possibility and degree of error increases as well.

A compromise of both methodologies above is the near-site metering practice. In this situation a short manhole is located directly next to the metering manhole, yet outside of traffic. In this shorter manhole the flow meter and remote  reading equipment is placed, preferably on a telescoping stand. By sealing both manholes from each other, even if the operator must enter the new manhole it is not calssified as a confined space therefore avoiding additional operators and equipment. 


Click here for the full article by Open Channel Flow.

Digital Energy Lifelines

Digital Energy Lifelines | Flowmetrics

The digital oil field promises lower costs and improved production in times of low energy prices. While lower prices are good for consumers, energy producers are hurting and looking towards technology to save them.

Traditionally well and pipeline data has been gathered manually. Technicians, armed with wrenches and clipboards, record flow rates, adjust valves, measure tank levels, read gauges, and travel to the next site down the supply line. Each round of visits can be expensive in both money and time, as technicians must fix any malfunctions and return to relay their findings. Flow meters, level indicators, and internet-connected well sites are the expected solutions.


The digital oil field combines a number of old and new technologies into a network permitting remote operation of wells, no matter how distant and isolated their locations.


Click here for the full article from Hart Energy.