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Flow Meters Theory - Venturi Venturi flow meters have been used for many years to measure the

pipe discharge. The fluid flowing through a pipe is led through a contraction section to a throat with a smaller cross section, Figure 1. Thus, the velocity in the throat is higher, leading to a reduction in pressure. The discharge from the pipe can be determined based on the pressure drop between the inlet and throat sections of the Venturi.

throat Figure 1: Venturi Flow Meter Geometry Consider the flow of an incompressible fluid through a Venturi meter, Figure 2. The crosssectional area upstream of the throat is A1, at the throat section is A2 and is A3 at an arbitrary location. Manometer tubes at the before mentioned sections register the fluid heads h1, h2 and h3 at the upstream, throat and arbitrary sections, respectively.

Total Head
u12 2g
2 u2 2g


h2 A1 A2

Datum Figure 2: Ideal Conditions in a Venturi Meter

Bernoullis equation can be used to determine the velocity in the throat area.

p1 p 2

2 u 2 u12 + g ( z1 z 2 ) = 2

Conservation of mass is expressed as

Q = u1 A1 = u 2 A2
where Q is the volumetric flow rate. Substituting u1 from the conservation of mass into the Bernoulli equation results in the following. (p = 2 1 p 2 ) + g ( z1 z 2 ) A2 1 2 A12

u 2,ideal

In order to account for the non-ideal conditions in a Venturi flow meter, a discharge coefficient is defined. u 2,actual Cv = u 2,ideal Discharge coefficient is plotted against Reynolds number in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Discharge Coefficients against Reynolds Number

Using a discharge coefficient, the flow rate through a Venturi flow meter can be determined as follows (p 2 1 p 2 ) + g ( z1 z 2 ) A2 1 2 A12

Q = C v A2

Theory - Orifice Plate Flow Meter With this type of meter, the pressure difference p1 p2 is used to determine flow. The pressure tap p2 is located at the minimum flow area, called the vena contracta, located downstream of the orifice. At this area, the streamlines are parallel and conditions uniform across the jet, Figure 4.

Figure 4: Orifice Plate Flow Meter Neglecting differences in elevation, the flow rate can be determined by
2 p1 p 2 A 2 1 2 A1

Q = CA2

Unfortunately, the area A2 is unknown. The unknown area can be expressed in terms of the actual orifice area A0 and a contraction coefficient Cc, A2 = C c A0 Combining the coefficients C and Cc, the flow rate for an orifice flow meter can be determined as follows

Q = C 0 A0

2 p1 p 2 A0 2 1 A1

Curves of C0 versus Reynolds number are presented in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Typical Orifice Discharge Coefficients

Venturi and Orifice Governing Equations The flow rate governing equation for the Venturi and orifice flow meters is
Q = Cd A2 A 1 2 A 1

p p2 2 1


Cd Cd

= =

0.98 for the Venturi 0.63 for the orifice.

Apparatus The flow meter apparatus is shown in Figure 7. The critical dimensions of the apparatus are presented in Table 1.

Figure 7: Flow Meter Apparatus Table 1: Useful Quantities Upstream Pipe Diameter (mm) Throat Diameter (mm) Upstream Pipe Diameter (mm) Orifice Diameter (mm)

Venturi Orifice

31.75 15 31.75 20