What is a variable area flow meter?
Variable area flow meters are flow meters in which the fluid must pass through a restricted area. Because the flow cross-sectional area of the flow meter varies with the height of the float. Therefore, this type of flowmeter is called variable area flowmeter or equal pressure drop flowmeter. The typical instrument of this type of flowmeter is a rotameter. This is in contrast to flow meters such as orifice plates and venturi tubes, where the area of the flow element remains fixed. Variable area flowmeters can measure of gas and fluid flow.
Variable area flow meter principle
The principle of the variable area flowmeter is to keep the pressure drop constant and use the change of the throttle area to measure the flow rate. It consists of a tapered tube gradually expanding from bottom to top and a rotor or float placed in the tapered tube.
When the fluid flows through the tapered tube, the float in the tube is pushed up to a height corresponding to the flow rate and floats.
When the flow rate increases, the impulse acting on the rotor increases. Because the weight of the rotor in the fluid is constant. The rotor rises. The corresponding annular gap between the rotor and the tapered tube is also increased. The flow rate of the fluid flowing through the annulus decreases. Impulse is also reduced. Bring the rotor to balance in the new position. According to the float position of the rotor, the instantaneous flow value can be measured.
The advantages of area flow meters are simple structure, easy testing, and suitable for measuring small flow rates.
Its disadvantage is that it is easily affected by factors such as fluid density, pressure and viscosity. When testing the flue gas flow, because the flue gas contains dust, the area flowmeter cannot be used.
Extended reading: Gas Rotameter Tips
Variable area flow meter advantages and disadvantages
- The advantages of the variable area flow meter are simple structure and easy testing, suitable for measuring small flow.
- The disadvantage of variable area flow meter is that it is easily affected by factors such as fluid density, pressure, and viscosity. When testing the flue gas flow, because the flue gas contains dust, the area flowmeter cannot be used.
Extended reading: Integral DP Flow Meter|Gas, liquid, steam|Compact structure
Variable area flow meter types
We can classify according to different product materials. Including the following categories:
Plastic variable area flow meter
The main parts such as the liquid plastic tube rotameter cone tube are made of AS, ABS plastic. Has relatively good corrosion resistance. The product also has the characteristics of reasonable structure, small size, lightweight, and the tapered tube is not easily broken. The plastic tube rotor flowmeter can be widely used in chemical, environmental protection, food, and other industrial sectors.
Glass variable area flow meter
Glass rotor flowmeters are mainly used in various departments such as the chemical industry, petroleum, light industry, medicine, fertilizer, chemical fiber, food, dyes, environmental protection, and scientific research. Used to measure the flow of single-phase non-pulsating (liquid or gas) fluids. The anti-corrosion glass rotor flowmeter is mainly used for the detection of corrosive liquid and gas medium flow. Such as strong acid, strong acid, oxidant, strong oxidizing acid, organic solvent, and other corrosive gas or liquid medium flow detection.
Extended reading: Fluid flow meter types
Metal variable area flow meter
Metal float flowmeter is a kind of flow measuring instrument commonly used in industrial automation process control. It has the characteristics of small pressure loss, large detection range (range ratio 10:1), and convenient use. It can be used to measure the flow of liquid, gas, and steam, and is especially suitable for medium flow measurement with low flow velocity and small flow.
The metal float flowmeter has local display type and intelligent remote transmission type, with pointer display, instantaneous flow, cumulative flow, liquid crystal display, upper and lower limit alarm output, cumulative pulse output, standard two-wire 4-20mA current output, etc. form. Provide users with a very wide choice of space.
Read more about: What is a Flow Meter? Types and how does it work?
Variable area flow meter applications
Because Variable area flow meter has the advantages of simple mechanical structure, convenient processing, stable work, high reliability and low pressure loss. Especially it can measure the characteristics of low Reynolds book small flow medium. Therefore, it is widely used in gas and liquid flow measurement and automatic control systems.
- It is suitable for the measurement of small-caliber and low-velocity gas, liquid and steam flow.
- Affected by a certain viscosity, it is not suitable to measure high-viscosity media
- When the flow rate exceeds 100m3/h, the pressure loss is large.
Mostly used for process control instruments, the best accuracy is 1%, generally 1.5%, and the range ratio is 10:1
- It is not suitable for measuring medium with large density change. It is not suitable to measure the flow of pulsating medium (such as metering pump outlet).
To put it bluntly, even under the conditions of small flow rate, small diameter, low flow rate, low viscosity medium, and no magnetic coupling influence, the variable area flow meter is the best to use.
In addition, the installation of a Variable area flow meter is also very particular. For flow accuracy requirements too high, it is not suitable to use this flow meter!
Horizontal variable area flow meter
There are two installation directions for variable area flow meter: horizontal installation and vertical installation.
Horizontal installation is divided into left in and out, right in and out.
Vertical installation is divided into top in and bottom out, bottom in and top out.
This one is installed horizontally to measure nitrogen. It is purely mechanical to display instantaneous flow rate.
Metal tube variable area flow meter
The metal tube variable area flowmeter is our rotameter.
The LZ series Rotameter Flowmeter provided by Sino-Inst adopts a 304/316 stainless steel structure. It can be used to measure the flow of liquid, gas and steam. Especially suitable for low flow velocity and small flow. Flow measurement of high temperature, high pressure, strong corrosion, conductive or non-conductive media.
Extended reading: Micro flow meters for low flow liquids
Vortex Flowmeter VS Rotameter
Vortex flowmeter and rotameter are two different flowmeters. The working conditions and use environments measured by each flowmeter are different. Therefore, the two flowmeters have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Rotameter is also called metal tube rotameter, which uses variable area measurement principle. Suitable for measuring liquid, gas and other measuring media. Its body uses all-metal structure. There are indication type, remote transmission type and explosion-proof type. Rotameter has 4-20mA standard analog quantity signal output and on-site indication. Especially its body is pointer type. This big advantage can be measured even without power. Widely used in power generation, pharmaceuticals, water treatment, etc.
The vortex flowmeter has two measurement types: the basic type and the temperature and pressure compensation integrated type. The basic model only measures a single flow rate. The temperature and pressure compensation type is a flow type that can measure temperature and pressure at the same time. The vortex flowmeter also has many advantages. It has the advantages of small pressure loss, large measuring range, high precision, and because the vortex flowmeter has no moving parts. Therefore, maintenance and installation are very simple.
Extended reading: How does a rotameter work
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Sino-Inst is Variable area flowmeter supplier, located in China.
Variable area flowmeters products are most popular in North America, Mid East, and Eastern Europe.
The United States, and India, which export 99%, 1%, and 1% of Variable area flowmeters respectively.
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