Flow measurement is used to guarantee that bulk liquids, gases, or heterogeneous slurries are traveling through a system at optimal rates for application-specific processes. This varies dramatically depending on the underlying method and technology, which is in turn determined by the material of interest. However, there are flow sensor technologies available with performance commonalities.
This blog post 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
Flow sensors (or meters) are used to measure the material passing through a system as a function of time to acquire a precise flow rate. They are integrated in-line at a cross-section of a flowing stream, comprising at least two primary elements:
- Transducer: Senses the material passing through the device.
- Transmitter: Converts the raw analog flow signal into an observable/usable format.
Types of Flow Sensor
Depending on the prescribed technology, flow measurement may monitor the volume or the mass of a material as it passes through the sensor.
Volumetric flow measurement determines the actual flow rate of a substance; quantifying the three-dimensional space that it occupies while passing through a system. This is a density-dependent property that will vary under different temperatures and pressures.
Mass flow measurements ignore the mutable volumetric properties of samples to measure the number of molecules flowing through the instrument irrespective of the actual space that the sample occupies. Mass flow measurements are often expressed as a normalized volumetric rate i.e. n liters per minute (L/min).
These two broad measurement principles encompass a wide range of sensors distinguished primarily by their transducer type. Consider the significant differences between the two measurement types outlined below:
- Turbine Flow Meters: Our DS1012 liquid flow meter is built around a rotor and blade transducer architecture, which 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—80mV) which links to an in-field display for accurate and highly repeatable flow measurement.
- Ultrasonic Flow Meters: Our DOSIC ultrasonic flow sensor uses 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 selection of the flow measurement devices available to the modern process engineer.
Applications of Flow Measurement Technologies
Flow measurement devices are used in virtually every market sector, from industrial processing to municipal supplies. TT Electronics routinely supplies and maintains flow sensors for applications as varied as chemical processing, food and beverage processing, and metering, hygiene applications, HVAC systems, municipal water supplies, and much more.
Any flow measurement and dosing system are only as successful as its operating personnel and maintenance procedure. Have you reconsidered the performance capabilities of your flow system recently? Contact a member of the TT Electronics team to book a consultation if you would like to improve your flow sensor capabilities.