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Measurement of Fluid Flow

Fluid flow is the movement of liquid in a pipe or channels, and gases or vapors in
pipes or ducts. Fluid takes the shape of its container. All liquids and gases are fluids.
Measuring flow of fluid is an important process which involves many types of
instruments and scientific principles. Being one of the important process variables it
is required to be monitored and controlled. Drop in a pressure is one of the
commonly used for the process.
Flowrate q is the quantity of fluid passing through a point during specific time
interval. Flow rate is volumetric or mass unit namely volume flowrate q v and mass
flowrate qm respectively. Where,



1 4

d 2p 1 and


Reynolds Number Re of a fluid is the ratio between inertial forces moving a fluid
and viscous forces resisting that movement. The Reynolds number describes the
nature of the fluid flow. This number has no units and is calculated from velocity or
flow rate, density, viscosity and inside diameter of pipe.

Re 1488

Pipe Reynolds number ReD and throat Reynolds number Red are dimensionless
parameter, they express the ratio between inertia and viscous forces in upstream
pipe and throat of primary device. Expressed as below

Re D

V1 D
Re D

and Re d
1 D

Table below shows most commonly used method of discharge measurement is those
that use quantity meters and those that use rate of flow meters.

Quantity Meters
Weighing Meters
1. weighing Tank
2. Tilting Trap
Volumetric Meters
1. Tank
2. Reciprocating Piston
3. Rotary Piston
4. Nutating Disk

Weighing Meters

Rate of flow Meters

Differential Pressure Meters
1. Venturi
2. Nozzle
3. Orifice Plate
4. Pitot Tube
Head Area Meters
1. Weir
2. Flume
Current Meters

Only gives the value of the average flow rate during the time taken to fill the
weighing tank. It is erroneous as it take into account the time taken to fill the tank,
as temperature of the fluid also affects the density. This method requires large fixed
installations which are only practical at laboratory.
Volumetric Meters:
As the name implies it uses volume for the measurement instead of weights, it is of
four types namely Tank, reciprocating piston, rotary piston, nutating disk. This
accuracy of this method is similar to that of weighing meters and gives the value of
average flow rate during the time it takes to fill the gauged capacity. Even though
volumetric method is subjected to the same limitation as weighing meter, it can be
used for larger flow rates. Like some natural reservoir whose volume are determined
by geometrical or topological procedures.
Differential pressure devices
Differential Pressure methods of flow measurement are old and reliable one, which
works on the principle of pressure difference between upstream and downstream
side of the measuring device. ISO 5167 standard and its sub articles provide more
vast information on differential pressure and measuring instruments. These meters
are highly popular, as per the article published by national measurement system at
least 40% of industrial flow meters in use at present are differential pressure devices.
The common types of differential pressure meter are Orifice plates, venturi tubes,
flow nozzles etc. Before we make use of these differential pressure meters for
measurement, we need to make sure the size of pipe as per specified limit and
Reynolds number.
The working of differential pressure meter is based on pressure drop due to fluid
flowing through a restriction in a pipe discovered by Bernoulli. When a fluid passes
through a restriction, static pressure difference occurs. This difference in static
pressure upstream and downstream is measured by manometer tubes. Fluid thro ugh
restriction accelerates to higher velocity V2 conserving the mass flow, resulting drop
in static pressure. This gives pressure difference which is a measure of flow rate
through the device. The relationship between mass flow and pressure difference is
given by Bernoullis equation p qm

The rate of flow in the pipe can be measured by one of the following methods
venture meters, flow nozzles, orifice meters and pitot tube. The accuracy of
measurements are highly accurate.

Venture meter
Venture meter can be used in water supply system, in which venture tube is installed
into a pipeline where fluid is running. It doesnt contain moving parts and required
less maintenance causing less head loss. It works in a principle such that the flows of
liquid through a tube with smaller cross section area D 2 is higher than that of flow
through larger cross section D1, due to which there exists static pressure difference
between these two sections. Liquid while passing through D 2 pressure must decrease
while velocity increases whereas at D1 velocity is lower. Thus this reduction in
pressure from larger cross section to smaller cross section is directly related to the
rate of flow, this measurement of this is used to determine the flow rate.
Orifice meters
In this case thin orifice plate is installed into a pipeline containing fluid which is
running, which is used for measuring rate of flow in the same manner as above, the
presence of thin plate case a static pressure difference during the fluid flow. The
upstream pressure connection is located around one pipe diameter from the orifice
plate, whereas downstream pressure connection is made at vena contracta which
gives large pressure difference across orifice.
Flow nozzles
Flow Nozzles are found to be used for flow measurement by industries due to its
reliable performance, comparable accuracy and low cost. It is circular in structure
with curved entry and cylindrical throat. It lacks downstream divergent section that
reduces energy loss, which results into similar discharge coefficient to that of a
venturi meter. Many national and international organizations have recognized flow
nozzle. Different forms of flow nozzle are available so far. ASME wall tap flow nozzle
with low or high which are widely use in United States, While ISA 1932 is into
practice in Europe. The ISA 193 nozzle was developed in 1932 by International
Federation of National Standardizing Associations, which later was adopted by ISO
standardization. Under ISO 51657-3, the available types of standard nozzles are
namely ISA 1932 and long radius nozzle. ISO 5167-1 in congestion with ISO 5167-3 is
basis of our study and design, while other available standards are BS 1043-1-1.2,

ASME MFC-3C and VDIVDE 2040 and 2041. Researches on flow nozzle are still going
on, while the basic working principles are same.

Flow nozzle have a long history, its design and installation are widely known in
industries. Geometric structure makes it easy to install and remove from the pipe for
maintenance or replacement purpose. This makes it favorable to use as the
differential pressure device for the measurement of the flow of fluids, especially for
water, steam, air and gases. Flow nozzle when compare to venturi meter are less
expensive and provide same accuracy. The advantage of it over an orifice plate is it
requires less upstream piping and gets lower pressure loss. The accuracy could be
sustained as there is no sharp edge or erode. Due to their construction flow nozzle
are more resistant to long long-time heat and pressure stress. Because of these
advantages over other available flow measurement devices we choose flow nozzle as
our prime device for flow measurement. Some of its features and benefits are as
noted below. ISO
Features and Benefits of Flow Nozzles
1. Widely used in industries
2. Flow measurement at high velocities
3. Extended product aging
4. Lower erosion effect
5. No moving parts, small and easy to handle.
The table below shows the limitation and restriction of flow nozzles (ISA 1932 and
Long Radius) as per ISO 5167-3 Standard. This defines possibility to use ISA 1932
and Long Radius under different conditions.


Flow Nozzles
ISA 1932


dmin (mm)














ReD, mini

2 x 10



ReD, max


2 x 107

Fig: - Limit of Nozzle products

Design Profile

There are two case of design profile d 2 / 3D and d 2 / 3D , that can also be called
as 0.67 and 0.67 respectively. As shown in the figure above we assume
D=200mm resulting, for two cases the value of d is taken as 120 and 150mm
Flat inlet plane is perpendicular to centerline. The convergent part in both cases is
defined by two arcs which are tangential to flat inlet plane and cylindrical throat. A
recess on the edge of cylindrical throat is considered in order to protect it from
The radius R1 of arch which is tangential to flat inlet plane, where

d 2 / 3D ; R1 0.2d 0.02d => R1 24mm , center at 24mm from inlet plane and
90mm from axial centerline.

d 2 / 3D ; R1 0.2d 0.06d => R1 30mm , center at 30mm from inlet plane and
112.5mm from axial centerline.

The second arc which is tangent to first arch and throat has a radius of R 2, where

d 2 / 3D ; R2 d / 3 0.003d => R2 40mm , center at an=36.492mm from inlet

plane and 100mm from axial centerline.

d 2 / 3D ; R2 d / 3 0.01d => R2 50mm , center at an=45.615mm from inlet

plane and 125mm from axial centerline.
Nozzle throat diameter d and length bn
For d 2 / 3D , consider d=120mm and throat length bn=72.492mm
Whereas for d 2 / 3D , consider d=150mm and throat length bn=45mm
The recess diameter of cn 1.06d and length 0.03d
For d 2 / 3D , cn 127.2mm length =3.6mm
Whereas for d 2 / 3D , cn 159mm length =4.5mm
Total Length of Nozzle, excluding recess
For d 2 / 3D , Nozzle length =0.6041d=72.492mm

for d 2 / 3D ,



= (0.4041

0.75 0.25
2 0.5225) d

The thickness of downstream face in case of d 2 / 3D is consider less then
Pressure Tapping:- upstream pressure taping is taken as single tappings. The
centerline of individual upstream tappings meets the centerline at angle near
900. tapping for a clean fluid is taken as 3mm.