Flow Measurement - What You Need to Know

Flow measurement is used to determine that bulk liquids, gases, or heterogeneous slurries are traveling through a system at the highest possible rates for application-specific processes. Depending on the underlying method and technology, which is in turn determined by the material of interest, this can vary widely. Flow sensor technologies with performance commonalities are now available.

This article will outline some of the fundamental points of flow measurement while offering basic insights into the types of flow sensor available from TT Electronics.

Overview of Flow Measurement

The material passing through a system as a function of time to gather a precise flow rate is obtained using flow sensors (or meters). Consisting of at least two primary elements, they are amalgamated in-line at a cross-section of a flowing stream:

  • Transmitter: Converts the raw analog flow signal into an observable/usable format.
  • Transducer: Senses the material passing through (the device).

Types of Flow Sensor

Contingent on the prescribed technology, flow measurement can monitor a material’s mass or volume as it passes through the sensor.

Quantifying the three-dimensional space that a substance takes up while passing through a system, volumetric flow measurement directs the actual flow rate of said substance. This density-dependent property is one that will vary under different pressures and temperatures it is exposed to.

Mass flow measurements do not take into account the fluctuating volumetric properties of samples to measure the number of molecules that flow through the instrument regardless of the actual space that the sample occupies. Mass flow measurements are typically indicated as normalized volumetric rates i.e. n liters per minute (L/min).

Distinguished primarily by their transducer type, these two broad measurement principles incorporate a wide scope of sensors. Consider the significant differences between the two measurement types outlined below:

  • Turbine Flow Meters: built around a rotor and blade transducer architecture, the DS1012 liquid flow meter uses the mechanical energy of moving fluid to spin the rotor shaft. This rotational speed is proportional to the flow rate of the stream. It is communicated via an electrical sinusoidal pulse output (50—80 mV) which is linked to an in-field display for precise and highly repeatable flow measurement.
  • Ultrasonic Flow Meters: The DOSIC ultrasonic flow sensor utilizes a transmitter which measures flow via the Doppler effect, i.e. when a frequency is reflected by dispersant particles or gas bubbles in a fluidic flow.

These are just a couple of the flow measurement devices now available to today’s process engineer.

Applications of Flow Measurement Technologies

From industrial processing to municipal supplies, flow measurement devices are practically used in almost every market sector. As standard, TT Electronics supplies and maintains flow sensors for applications as varied as food and beverage processing, chemical processing, hygiene applications, HVAC systems, municipal water supplies, and much more.

The flow measurement and dosing system is only as good as the personnel operating and its maintenance procedure. Perhaps you should reconsider the performance capabilities of your flow system? You can reach a member of the TT Electronics team to book a consultation if you would like to enhance your flow sensor capabilities.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by TT Electronics plc.

For more information on this source, please visit TT Electronics plc.

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