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Water Flow Measurement: Different Types and Applications

water Flow Measurement

Flow measurement tools are helpful in many ways, especially in industrial processes. If you want to get the best or any measuring device, you need to use it with the right application. When measuring flow, special devices called flow meters are used to get accurate flow rates in fluids and gases. 

The market is flooded with numerous kinds of flow meters used in different applications. This article will explain the various types of flow meters and their use in industries that deal with fluids and gases.

What Are Liquid Flow Meters? 

In fluids measurement, the rate flow of liquids and gases, getting accurate readings is crucial. Liquid flow meters are essential industrial tools that do more than just give data and reports. They also regulate and monitor flow rates in various industries for precision and safety. Flow meters are specially designed to ensure liquids and gases that go through industrial processes meet the required standard based on the application. Flow rate in liquids and fluids is measured in either volume or mass. To erase the search of finding proper meters, here are various flow meters categories and their applications. 

Differential Pressure Flow Meters

Differential pressure flow meters are widely used in many industries. Of all the flow meters used in the world today, 21% are differential flow meters. A differential pressure meter type gets the square root of the pressure differential measured to get the flow rate of any given fluid or gas. The square of the measured fluid when the flow pressure drops is equivalent to the flow rate. These flow meters have a primary part that changes the energy movement inside the pipe, creating differential pressure. The second part of this type of meter calculates the differential pressure and gives sign readings to get the flow rate. 

Below are examples of differential pressure meter types that ate used in industries to get accurate readings:

  • Flow Tube
  • Variable-Area (Rotameter)
  • Pilot tube
  • Flow Nozzle
  • Orifice Plate
  • Target
  • Venture Tube 
  • Elbow-tap 

Mass Flow Meters

Flow meters are most of the time used to measure processes such as heat transfer, chemical reaction, and any other fluid flow rate that requires higher levels of accuracy. Mass flow meters efficiently measure flow rate in wastewater, pharmaceutical, mining, and many other industries. The two main types of mass flow meters include Coriolis and thermal meters. Coriolis flowmeters measure more accurately than thermal flow meters

Positive Displacement Flow Meters

The flow measurement in these PD types of flow meters is measured rotors that displace fluids. The spinning rotor’s volume is directly proportional to the displaced fluid volume. An integral electric pulse transmitter measures rotor rotations. The data provided in this process is then converted into a readable flow rate. Example of PD flow meters include:

  • Oval gear
  • Nutatingdisk 
  • Rotary vane
  • Reciprocating piston

Open Channel Flow Meters

Open channels refer to areas where fluid is stored or flows without restrictions or flow is not enclosed. Examples of open channels include streams, rivers, canals, non-pressurized sewers, and tunnels. To measure flow rate in open channels, special flow meters are used. The depth of water is calculated by getting the instantaneous flow rate. Examples of open channel flow meters include:

  • Weir flowmeters 
  • Flume flowmeters 

Velocity Flow Meters

To obtain fluids measurement while using velocity flow meters, speed readings from various flow points are necessary. Once that is known, the provided speed integrates the overall flow area. Turbine flow meters are applicable in industries such as pipelines to detect leaks. They are also used in tankers and rail cars when loading hydrocarbon products. Velocity flow meters are also used in the drilling, fuel, and chemical sectors. Some of the flow meters belonging to the vortex flow meters category include:

  • Momentum Exchange
  • Vortex shedding
  • Ultrasonic
  • Electromagnetic
  • Swirl
  • Doppler and Transit time
  • Turbine


The accuracy of flow measurement is influenced by the type of flow meter you are using. If used in the wrong application, it won’t produce proper readings. All the flow meter categories have specific principles that govern how they measure flow rate in liquids and gases. If you are unsure of which flow meter to buy for your application, seek guidance from the flow meter manufacturers. 

About the Guest Author

Naman Modi is a Professional Blogger, SEO Expert & Guest blogger at proteusind.comHe is an Award-Winning Freelancer & Web Entrepreneur helping new entrepreneurs launch their first successful online business.

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