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Descriptions of various types of flow meters - part 3

Water Level Sensor In the previous two sections of our "Descriptions of Various types of flow meters" we have described different flow meters to be used with water and other liquids both clean (like distilled water) and liquids with suspended solids. Your choice in which sensor or flowmeter to use depends on the type of substance to be measure, the pressure and temperature of the substance as well as other considerations specific to your application. One thing to note is that some electronic sensors should not be used with flammable liquids due to risk of fire.

Liquid Flow Meter Flowmeters for liquid flow measurement measure the movement of liquids through a channel or conduit of some sort. They can have a built in display delivering their data to be read by humans (similar to the natural gas or water meter at your home) or they can pass on information to a flow computer or other component in an elaborate system.

Positive Displacement Flow Meter PD meters or positive displacement flowmeters are made of a chamber that obstructs the flow of a liquid and has a known capacity. The chamber is filled and emptied repeatedly with each fill/discharge cycle being counted. The count of cycles in a specified time frame can be used to calculate flow rate. Using this type of flowmeter usually causes a significant pressure loss in the downstream.

Mass Flow Meter This type of flowmeter is used to measure a gas or liquid flow rate in units of mass flow, for instance it might measure pounds per minute. Mass flowmeters can come as insertion or inline styles and the most common types are thermal or coriolis.

Portable Ultrasonic Flow Meter Portable ultrasonic flowmeters or clamp on flowmeters are portable flowmeters that allow you to use the device at different locations. Often useful to help check the accuracy of other devices these just simply clamp onto the conduit where you wish to measure flow. They are non-invasive so they do not affect downstream pressure as other types of more permanent flowmeters do.

This is the end of this resource for lay-persons. The flow meters described here are all the most basic types but there are more. There are hybrid flowmeters that work using some of the principles of two or more types and others not mentioned in this resource. We are in the process of further developing this resource with a glossary and listing some of the hybrid types of flowmeters.

The next section that is still in development will explore terms such as flowmeter calibration, universal flow monitors, open channel flow calculator, flow meter computer, water sensor relay output and much more.

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