Types of Flowmeters

A flowmeter is a device that meters movement of fluid in a conduit or an open space. This fluid could be water, chemicals, air, gas, steam or solids. Some of the most common types of flow meters include Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, turbine and multiphase. Flowmeters are made of several basic technologies. Each type has a niche but can generally be used for other applications as well.

Coriolis Flowmeters are twisting meters that are used to measure mass flow as opposed to volumetric flow. These meters are known for their accurate readings however their size is limiting.

Magnetic Flowmeters are generally used for water applications. They are limited to conductive fluids and they operate on a voltage generator.

Mass Flowmeters are designed for use in gas flows where pressure and temperature are variable. They measure flow rate in terms of the mass of the fluid substance and have units such as lbs/min.

Mass Gas Flowmeters are less affected by density, pressure, and fluid viscosity. They use differential pressure transducers and temperature sensors.

Multiphase Flowmeters are advanced types of flowmeters which accurately measure the flow rates of oil, gas, and water. These flowmeters donít have any moving parts and cause no separation or mixing.

Positive Displacement Flowmeters are used to measure the flow rate of fluids in areas where straight piping is not possible.

Turbine Flowmeters are mainly used for both liquids and gas. They operate best for applications that have steady, high-speed flows.

Ultrasonic Flowmeters are effective for measuring natural gasses. These meters are non-intrusive and they have no pressure drop. It is important that ultrasonic flowmeters work on clean fluids.

Ultrasonic Doppler Flowmeters are used in slurries and wastewater applications. They use the Doppler effect principle to measure the flow rate.

Variable Area Flowmeters, more commonly known as Rotameters, are used to measure the linear flow of gases and clean liquids.

Velocity Flowmeters and flow sensors measure flow rate in terms of how quickly the gas or liquid is moving. Velocity meters use units like ft/sec.

Volumetric Flowmeters measure flow rate in terms of the quantity of material that is flowing and use units like mL/min.

Vortex Flowmeters are mainly used as an alternative to differential pressure flowmeters. These meters work best with clean, low-viscosity, medium to high speed fluids.

Vortex Shedding Flowmeters are suitable for water flow and coolant flow. They are not mechanical meters like positive displacement or turbine meters and do not hang up.