How Turbine Flow Meters Work

How Turbine Flow Meters Work | Flowmetrics

Turbine flow meters are a popular way of measuring liquid and natural gas flow. Also known as an axial turbine, this type of meter consists of a turbine wheel that is placed in the stream of the flow. The flow pushes the meter’s angled blades, causing the turbine to rotate. Flow rate can be determined based on the turbine’s rotation rate once it becomes steady. The rate of rotation is typically picked up by electronic coils that are connected to the meter’s housing, and then turned into readings that can be accessed by the user.

Minimal Flow Disruption

One advantage of a turbine flow meter is that it offers minimal disruption to the flow. Because the flow can continue right through the turbine, there is little pressure loss and speed can remain fairly high. For this reason, they are often preferred for purposes water distribution, fire protection and for large commercial projects, where a high rate of flow and high pressure is desirable. On the other hand, applications where flow rates are low will typically use meters that are considered more accurate but tend to impede flow rates, such as displacement meters.

Ensuring Maximal Accuracy

Turbine meter measurements can be affected severely by factors such as flow profile, temperature and flow rate and content. Strainers installed near the meter can help protect the turbine from debris that could damage it. Depending on specific conditions, users may choose to put additional protective measures in place to ensure maximally accurate and consistent flow measurements.

New Developments

With today’s advancements in technology, turbine flow meter accuracy has also improved. Increased sensitivity allows for the precise measurement of even extremely low flow rates in some models. Manufacturers also continue to develop blade and rotor materials that are highly sensitive, durable and less vulnerable to drag and other factors that have traditionally decreased accuracy. Some types of turbine meters are also able to measure and record variations in flow with a high degree of precision. Another way in which flow meter makers have reduced inaccuracy is by reducing the rotor’s inertia. A high inertia would keep the rotor spinning fast even after flow had decreased, leading to inaccurate results. A low inertia lets the turbine reduce speed together with the flow.

Maintenance and Calibration

Regular inspection and calibration is essential to keeping a turbine flow meter accurate. For best results in calibration, test your meter under conditions that are as close to normal operating settings as possible, keeping the flow composition, rate and temperature substantially similar. In addition to regularly scheduled inspections, check your meter in the event that you are receiving inconsistent or unusual readings that cannot be explained by actual variations in the flow.

Malfunction may occur as a result of regular wear and tear, impact by debris, corrosion or buildup of dirt or viscosity. Problems may also happen if your meter is calibrated incorrectly or was not properly installed. While some problems can be fixed by recalibrating or performing minor repairs, others may necessitate partial or total replacement. If you are using an older turbine flow meter, be aware that recent developments have substantially improved measurement accuracy; thus, it may be wise to invest in an updated model.

 

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