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# Flow measurement:

## Head Type flow metering principle involves a restriction of known dimension in

the pipe or flow line carrying the fluid. This flow restriction causes a pressure
drop which varies with flow rate . The measurement of pressure drop can be
used for indirect way of flow measurement .

## Laminar and Turbulent Flow :

Experimental observation shows that two distinct types of flow occur when fluid is
flowing through a pipe.
A) Laminar flow, B) Turbulent flow:

In laminar flow , all the particles of the flowing fluid move in a highly ordered
manner retaining the same relative positions in successive cross sections Thus
laminar flow in a circular pipe can be regarded as a number of annular layers :
the velocity of these layers increases from zero at the pipe wall to maximum at
the pipe centre with significant viscous shear stresses between each layer .
In turbulent flow , the motion of each particle is disordered i.e. each particle move
randomly in three dimensions and occupies different relative positions in
successive cross sections As a result , the velocity and pressure at a given point
in the pipe are both subject to small random fluctuations with time about their
mean values. The viscous friction forces which cause the ordered motion in
laminar flow are much smaller in turbulent flow .
The velocity of profiles of laminar and turbulent flows are shown below.

## The laminar and turbulent flow can be distinguished by parameter called

Reynolds Number as given by :

vl
Re 

Where l is a characteristic length i.e. pipe diameter ,  is density , v is
average velocity and  is dynamic or absolute viscosity

The Reynolds Number represents the ratio of inertial forces to viscous force
.The following are the classification of different flow according the Reynolds
Number (Re)

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Laminar flow : Re  2  10 3
Transition region: 2  10 3  Re  10 4
Turbulent flow: Re  10 4

## Volume flow rate , mass flow rate and mean velocity :

Considering laminar flow through pipe of circular cross section with radius R , the
volume flow rate through the annular section having width and radius from the
centre of pipe is given by : Q  Areaofelement  velocity  2rr  v(r )
R

Hence the total volume flow rate through a circular pipe is : Q  2  v(r )dr
0

However , the variation in velocity over the cross section area can be neglected
and assumed to be constant and equal to the mean velocity v is defined as :
Q
v , where A is the cross sectional area of the fluid normal to the direction of
A
flow . The corresponding mass flow rate M  is : M  Q  Av

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Continuity equation of fluid flow ( Conservation of mass and energy):

For streamline flow , the mass of the fluid entering at a section (1) in pipe must
be equal to the mass of the fluid leaving out at a section (2) provided there is no
loss of fluid between these two sections , then

If A1 , 1 , v1 are the Area of section (1) , density of fluid and mean velocity of
fluid
A2 ,  2 , v 2 the Area of section (2) , density of fluid and mean velocity of fluid
then mass flow rate , 1 A1v1   2 A2 v 2  M
If the fluid can be considered incompressible then 1   2 , then A1v1  A2 v 2  Q

Since the element is at a height z above the datum level it possesses potential
energy given by : mgz , where m is the mass of the element . The element is
moving with a mean velocity and therefore also possesses kinetic energy given
1
by : mv 2
2
In addition the element of fluid can also do work because it is flowing under
pressure . If the pressure acting over cross section XY is P and the area of the
cross section is A , then , Force exerted on XY = PA
If the entire element moves to occupy volume XX’Y’Y then the magnitude of this
volume is , where is the density of the fluid . The corresponding distance
moved XX’ is given by an d the work done by the fluid is :

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Flow of incompressible fluid in pipe:

If a restriction like orifice is introduced into a pipe line , then the relation between
the pressure and velocity at the sections 1 and 2 (being the positions of upstream
and downstream ) can be found from the law of conservation of energy. For the
flow of incompressible ideal fluids , Bernoulli’s equation is used :

p1 V22 p 2 V12
  Z2    Z1
 2g  2g
where ,
p1 = static pressure at upstream
p 2 =static pressure at downstream
 =density of fluid
g =acceleration due to gravity
Z 1 =elevation of centre line of pipe at upstream
Z 2 =elevation of centre line of pipe at downstream

For fluid flow measurement the difference in level ( Z 2  Z 1 ) is very small , even
when the pipe is vertical , since the length of flow measuring restriction is very
small.
2g
 V22  V12  ( p1  p 2 )

Measuring the flow rate of fluids involves determining the volumetric flow rate is
given by the continuity of equation :
q  A2V2  A1V1
where
A1 =area of flow at upstream
A2 =area of flow at downstream

Combining the above two equations , the volumetric flow rate is given by :
A2 2 g ( p1  p 2 )
q  KA2 2 gh
1
A2 2 2 
{1  ( ) }
A1

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q actual d 4 C
where K =flow coefficient= ( q ) / [1  ( ) ]
ideal D [1   4 ]
where C =discharge coefficient
 =diameter ratio
The term (1   4 ) is known as velocity approach factor , since it is 1.0 if the
upstream velocity V1 is zero . To reduce the above equation in more useful
form , it is often modified as :

K 2 D 2 2 g ( p1  p 2 )
q
4 
where q and ( p1  p 2 ) are the variable quantities in flow measurement.

For actual flow conditions with friction losses present , correction to this formula
is necessary . Besides , the minimum area of the flow channel occurs not at the
restriction but at some point slightly downstream , known as the vena contracta .
This in turn depends on the flow rate . While pressure tapings positions are
fixed , the position of maximum velocity changes with changing flow rate . So the
measurement of pressure at selected pressure tapping points needs to be
modified by a correction factor as given by :

Where
K = flow coefficient
C =discharge coefficient
A2 d
  =diameter ratio
A1 D
d =diameter of restriction
D =Diameter of pipe

## The factor is termed as velocity of approach factor . thus if h varies , volume

flow rate varies , provided is constant . Unfortunately K depends on the flow
Reynolds’s number and flow channel geometry . The fluid flow through restriction
is characterized by inertia forces and viscous forces , and these are related by
Reynolds’s number as given by :
V 2 d
R

4 pq
Also , R  D
where
V2 = average velocity of fluid
 =absolute viscosity
d =restriction diameter

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The turbulent flow occurs at the Reynolds’s no. above 2000 to 2200 , which
depends on the fluid flow velocity, densities , pipe diameters and viscosity .
Industrial flow generally turbulent with R ranging from 10000 to about 1000000 .

## Measuring fluid flow with an restriction requires the differential head to be

measured by a manometer . So the effect of the density of the fluid over the
manometer liquid must be taken into account using the following equation as:
p1  p 2  ( m   f ) h
Now the density of the fluid over manometer fluid is different because of different
temperature condition and if the flow rate is to be converted at some standard
temperature base condition , then the ratio of density of flowing fluid should be
included in the final expression .
where
 f =density of fluid over manometer fluid
 m =density of manometer fluid
 = density of flowing fluid
 s =density of flowing fluid at base condition
Thus the flow rate is given by :
 ( m   f ) gh  2 gh( m   f )
q  KA2 (  K 2 D 2
s 4 s
All quantities on the right hand side are measurable excepting K which is
obtained from the standard table.

## Flow of compressible fluid in pipe:

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The relation between pressure and velocity for flow of a compressible fluid
through an orifice can be found from the law of conservation of energy as
employed in thermodynamics .If the fluid is ideal and the flow is considered
adiabatic then there is no heat flow to or from the fluid and no external work done
on or by the fluid , and neglecting the very small difference in we can write :

V22 V2
p2 v2   JE 2  p1v1  1  JE1
2g 2g

## where E =internal molecular energy of fluid

J =work equivalent of heat
v =specific volume of fluid
Employing the definition of enthalpy H gives, V22  V12  2 gJ ( H 1  H 2 )
For an ideal gas and if specific heats are constant , then ,
( K 1)
KR p2 K
H1  H 2  T1 [1  ( ) ]
J ( K  1) p1
Where K =ratio of specific heat at constant volume to constant pressure
R =gas constant
T =absolute temperature

A2V2 AV
From the equation of continuity : W   1 1
v2 v1
Where W =weight flow rate (Kg/sec.)

Combining the foregoing equations and simplifying , the relation for isentropic
flow of ideal gases is given by ,
p2 2 / K p
( )  ( 2 ) ( K 1) / K
2 gKp1 p p1
W  A1  2 [ 1 ]
( K  1)v1 4 p2 2 / K
1  ( )
p1
By employing a series expansion by binomial theorem and ignoring term of
second and higher order , we obtain ,

p2 2 / K 2 p p K 1 p
( )  1  (1  2 ) also , ( 2 ) ( K 1) / K  1  ( )(1  2 )
p1 K p1 p1 K p1

2 g ( p1  p 2 )
W  CA1  2
Thus , modified relation is : p
v1 [1   4 ( 2 ) 2 / K ]
p1

## The above equation , however , is the simple hydraulic equation for

incompressible fluids .It applies to flow of compressible fluids only when the

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change in density or specific volume is small . So to take account for this effect
additional parameter ( Y ) , called “rational expansion factor “is to be included .
compreesiblemassflowrate
Where Y  imcompressiblemassflowrate

p2 2 / K p
(1   4 [(
)  ( 2 ) ( K 1) / K ]
p1 p1
Now Y 
K 1 p p
( )(1  2 )[1   4 ( 2 ) 2 / K ]
K p1 p1
The expansion factor is dimensionless.
The value of the rational expansion factor and the error in flow rate is given in the
following table:

p2 ( p1  p 2 ) Y % error in flow
( )
p1 p1 rate
1.0 0.0 1.0 0.0
0.99 0.01 0.994 0.6
0.98 0.02 0.9884 1.16
0.96 0.04 0.9765 2.35
0.94 0.06 0.9646 3.54
0.92 0.08 0.9526 4.74
0.90 0.10 0.9405 5.95
0.8 0.20 0.878 12.2
0.7 0.30 0.812 18.8
0.6 0.40 0.744 25.6

By determining the mass flow rate of the incompressible fluids and multiplying
with Y , flow rate for compressible fluids can be found out . In industrial practice ,
the pressure ratio is often greater than 99 % , and the simple flow equation
may be used . When the pressure ratio is less than 99 % , there is too great an

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error in the calculation , and it is desirable to correct the equation without having
to employ the rational expansion factor of equation . An empirical expansion
factor has been determined for orifices using flanges taps or vena-contracta taps
p  p2
Y  1  [0.42  0.35 4 ]( 1 )
p1 K
The expansion factor for orifice using pipe is given by:

p1  p 2
Y  1  [0.33  1.145(  4  0.7  5  12 13 )]( )
p1 K

When the gas contains appreciable moisture , a moisture factor correcting for the
vapor density is introduced. The moisture correction factor is given by:
p v Gv
M  1 (  1) ,
p G
where p v =vapor pressure
Gv =sp. Gravity of vapor referred to air at the same condition of pressure and
temperature
G = sp. Gravity of gas

## The final form of flow equation is

v 2 gM 1 m h  v 2 gh m M 1
q  KA2Y ( b )(  K 2 D 2 Y b
Mb v1 4 Mb v1

where ,
q =flow rate
K =flow coefficient
 m =density of manometer fluid
h=manometer differential
v1 =sp. Volume of gas at upstream condition
v b =sp. Volume of gas at base condition
M 1 =Moisture correction factor at upstream condition
M b =moisture correction factor at base condition
Y =expansion factor
 =Diameter ratio
yRT
The sp. Volume of the gas may be found from the relation as given by: v  p
where y is compressibility factor and R is gas constant

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Moisture in a gas affects the flow rate for a differential head in two ways . The
density of the moist gas changes and gas becomes only a part of the mixture .
With the above notations the moisture correction factor is considered to be the
ratio of the density of the moist gas to that of the dry gas as the correction
factor .The ratio of the weight of the dry gas to that of the mixture should be the
actual moisture correction factor but very often it is simply considered with the
single assumption of density change and the correction factor is then given by:

M  d
m

## The Reynolds no. of the flowing gas is given by :

4q
Rg 
v1 d

For all flow equation for orifices , that is those for liquid , gas , and vapor , one
further correction factor is required if the temperature of the flowing fluid is high .
Thermal expansion of the metal of which the orifice plate is constructed
increases the orifice diameter . The diameter ratio remains approximately
constant . The correction for thermal expansion can be made by multiplying the
flow rate by ( 1  0.000015t ) , where is the temperature at the orifice plate
A limitation to the maximum flow rate of gases exists when the pressure ratio
p
( 2 ) is small . This can be investigated by differentiating flow rate w w.r.t.
p1
p w p
( 2 ) and equating it to zero . Thus  0 , where p r  2
p1 p r p1
 1  1
p p
(  1)( 2 ) 
 (  1)  ( 2 )
4 
2
p1 p1
A simplification of the solution to the above equation results if the 2 nd term is
neglected in comparison to the other two., then ,

p2 2
( ) cr  [ ]  1
p1 (  1)
This pressure ratio is called the critical pressure ratio , because it is the condition
for maximum flow of gas through an orifice or other such restriction to flow. For
air the critical pressure ratio is approximately 0.528.
Of greater significance is the fact that , when the pressure ratio is less than the
critical value , the flow rate does not depend on the pressure difference but only
on the upstream pressure p1 . In industrial practice this condition is rarely
encountered when measuring fluid flow in pipe lines. On the other hand when the
fluid is discharged through an orifice or nozzle into the atmosphere , the
upstream pressure is often great enough so that the pressure ratio is less than
critical .

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a) Orifice:

## Of the four types of commercially available restriction type primary flow

measuring elements , orifice is the most common . The restriction which takes
the form of thin plate is called orifice and is available in three shapes as
concentric , segmented or eccentric .The concentric orifice is by far the most
widely used . The segmented and eccentric orifices are used for measuring
flow of fluids containing solids . In both , the orifice plate is located so that the
bottom of the hole is nearly flush with the bottom inside of the pipe . the
segmented and eccentric orifices require special calibration since the
standard flow coefficients are usable only for standard thin –plate , concentric
orifices. The concentric orifice plate is made of flat metal sheet with a circular
hole , and it is installed in the pipe line with the hole . Orifice plate are made
from steel , stainless steel , Monel , phosphor bronze , or almost any metal
that will withstand the corrosive effects of the fluid . Its thickness is only
sufficient to withstand the bucking forces caused by the pressure differential .
the circular hole or orifice is carefully made with 90 , square , sharp edge
upstream because this type can be manufactured more uniformly than one
with round edges. Wear and abrasion of sharp edge greatly affect the
accuracy of the orifice flow measurement.

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A general mounting feature of the orifice fig . .Tappings positions greatly
influence the measuring accuracy . A downstream tap at vena-contracta
d
would generate the largest differential pressure , but flow rate and ratio
D
greatly influence the location of the tap position . For vena contracta
tappings , generally d is made equal to to D , the pipe diameter , while the
downstream tapping position is determined from the curves shown in fig .
Other type of tapping commonly encountered are given in the table :

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Tapping type d1 d2 Remarks
Pipe taps 1 8D Mainly used for
2 D
2 gas line , when D
is small and
pressure
differential is small
,   0.70
Radius taps D 1 To keep the
D
2 tapping position
fixed irrespective
of 
Flange taps 1 in. 1 in Used mainly for
D>1 in. It is the
most popular
tapping position.

b) Venturi

The venture tubes may be of two different forms as i) short recovery cone
type ii) long recovery cone type also sometimes known as Herschel standard
type. The short recovery cone type uses a straight throat of length equal to
the throat diameter and the throat tapping is made midway . The venture
tube is made of cast iron or steel . In many cases the throat is made a
separate assembly of bronze so that it can be easily replaced . The entrance
section of the standard venture has about 20 and the exit section varies from
5 to 15 depending on the long or short recovery cone type design . The short
venture is suitable for short obstructed lines . It has larger pressure losses
than the Herschel type . The diameter ratio of the venture tube is the ratio of
the throat dia to the pipe –line dia , usually between 0.25 and 0.50 The
pressure taps are made at piezometer rings so as to average the pressure
measurement around the periphery . The venture is more accurate than the
orifice as it has less pressure losses . The flow equation for venture tubes are
the same as those for the orifice with exception of having large discharge
coefficient between 0.9 to 1.0

## i) For flow of liquids,

C d  2 D 2 2 g ( m   f )h
q (
4 1  2 

where

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q =flow rate
C v = venture discharge coefficient
 =diameter ratio=
d =venture throat diameter
D =pipe diameter
 m =density of manometer fluid
 f =density of fluid over manometer fluid
 =density of flowing fluid
h =manometer pressure differential
 =absolute viscosity of flowing fluid
R D =Reynolds No.

## ii) For the flow of gases or vapor the

 C v  2 D 2 Yv b 2 ghM 1 ( m   f )
q
4 1  4 Mb v1
where ,
Y =rational expansion factor
v1 =sp. Volume of gas at upstream conditions
v b =sp. Volume of gas at base conditions
M 1 =moisture factor at upstream condition
M b =moisture factor at base condition

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c) Flow nozzle:

The flow nozzle is a variation of the venture in which the exit section is
omitted and consequently the approach section is bell shaped with a
cylindrical throat . It resembles an orifice with a well rounded upstream edge .

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The upstream (high pressure) tap is usually made about one pipe diameter
from the entrance to the nozzle . The downstream (low pressure) tap is
usually made in the pipe directly opposite the straight portion of the nozzle.
It has been developed to have high differential pressure , low permanent
pressure loss , shorter length and lower weight.

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