in current generation FCI Thermal mass ow meters. Error anduncertainty reduction have undergone nearly an order o magnitudeimprovement in recent years, which has enabled calibrations at0.5% o reading and below across 100:1 turndowns.
Calibration Methodologies and NIST TraceableFacilities Close The Gap
The advances in sensing and signal processing necessitatedimprovements in calibration routines and methodologies. Inorder to bring the pedigree o Thermal type ow instrumentstruly into the high perormance category and match the real feldconditions o users, manuacturers needed to combine the productimprovements with equally competent, high accuracy calibrationcapability. This meant outsourcing instrument calibrations to aqualifed ow laboratory or making an extensive investment inone’s own calibration acilities. Doubling as both an R&D testand production calibration acility, FCI invested in and operatesits own uid calibration center capable o owing wide varietieso inert and hazardous gases and liquids.Optimizing Thermal sensing technology continues to requireknowledge o the uid because the cooling rate is a unction othermophysical properties, such as viscosity, density, specifc heat,thermal conductivity and coefcient o thermal expansion. Whilenewer modeling and equivalency methodologies have becomeeective at producing reerence gas calibrations with accuraciesapproaching 2-3% o reading, it remains clear, or the time being,that the highest level o perormance is made available throughactual gas or actual liquid calibrations. Companies with acilitiessuch as FCI can perorm liquid calibrations in actual uids rangingrom basic water to juices, hydrocarbons and coolants; similarly,gas calibrations are available in inert to hazardous mixed gasesto light end gases such as Hydrogen and Helium. The capabilityto match actual uid calibrations with automated data collectionroutines and high accuracy ow reerence standards such assonic nozzles, laser Doppler and Coriolis results in instrumentcalibrations that are consistently better than 0.5% o reading.
Transerring Laboratory Results To The Field
Transerring laboratory calibration perormance to an actualfeld installation poses challenges or all ow measurementtechnologies. Challenges like straight run, actual instrumentinstallation, uid stratifcation, transitional ow profles,turbulence intensity, swirl, pulsation and wide ranging processconditions can impact virtually any ow technology. As Thermaltechnologies are economical and accurate ow solutions rom 1/8-inch lines to 30-oot stacks. The application o the technology andthe proper product selection are critical to achieving the highestfeld installed accuracy. From 2-inch line sizes and below, mostThermal manuacturers eature “in-line” oerings that fx thesensing element in a traditional spool section. This in turn assuresthat any minor installation eects associated with variations opitch, yaw, rotation or insertion depth are essentially eliminated.In addition, many “insertion” elements have evolved in such away that most installation variables can also be eliminated orgreatly reduced. Lock in place or key coded insertions, multipointsensor assemblies, depth gages and orientation guides make ora very efcient insertion ow element installation rom 4- inchlines to several meters in diameter.
Flow Conditioning OpensNew Installation Opportunities
Flow conditioning is a complementary advancement that manyow technologies have adopted. FCI oers the Vortab
Fluid Components International LLC
Advances in Thermal DispersionMass Flow Meter Accuracy
By Dan McQueen, President, Fluid Components International (FCI)
Figure 2. FCI’s Calibration laboratory mixed gas and sonic nozzle fow stands.
Pressurized Gas Loop StandGas Sonic Nozzle Stand