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Descriptions of various types of flow meters - part 1

It is important to use the right type of flowmeter for any specific application. Each type of flow meters has particular uses that they were designed for and using them in applications other than intended should be considered carefully. The list below will help you to understand the various types of flowmeters to help you in making the right choice.

Different types of substance to be measured will require different tools to measure them. Fluids such as water, oil or others will have a different density and may or may not contain particulates in their flow. Mechanical types of flowmeters may not work well with "dirty" water or liquids that have solids within the flow. It is possible to filter out solids prior to measuring the flow but this can add expense and the better option is usually to use a flowmeter designed to work with "dirty" fluids. The devices in this section are all mechanical flowmeters.

Vortex flow meters The vortex type of flow meters can measure flow in liquids or gasses such as steam. This type of flowmeter is most often used to measure steam or other pressurized gasses. Since temperature can affect the accuracy of flow measurement the vortex flowmeters can include temperature and pressure sensors and either carry out calculation with an internal chip or via a flow computer.

Variable area flow meters Often called a rotameter the variable area flowmeters also measure flow of liquids or gases. There are three general types of variable rate flowmeters they are rotameter, movable vane meter and weir flowmeter. Using some type of float or sharp edged orifice plate these relate linear displacement to corresponding flow rate.

Paddle wheel flow meters A paddle wheel flow meter uses an impeller and paddle wheel that is turned by the flow of liquid or gas. The revolutions of the impeller are counted and calculations based on the revolutions can be carried out to determine flow rate. This type of flowmeter measures the velocity of liquids and gives a volumetric flow reading. These are usually simple devices and are often used with irrigation water. This type of flowmeter can work with some types of "dirty" water providing there is no sludge or other substance that can begin to coat the parts that are in contact with the liquid.

Vane or piston flow meters The vane and piston type of flowmeters usually are found measuring flor of thick liquids such as oil or other lubricants and can be used with corrosive liquids. A common application for this type of flowmeter is as part of a system that delivers coolants or lubricants to moving parts of large tools found in manufacturing plants. Such systems usually include some or all of the following components the flow meter, flow control devices, cutoff switches and a flow computer.

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