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Catalog No.


First Printing - December 1980 First Revision - November 1.984 Second Revision- April 1996

Measurement of Gas by Turbine Meters

Transmission Measurement Committee Report NO.7

American Gas Association

© 1996 American Gas Association All Rights Reserved


Operating Section American Gas Association 1515 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, Virgnia 22209

Nothing contained in any American Gas Association (A.G.A.) publication is to be construed as granting any right, by implication or otherwise, for the manufacture, sale, or use in connection with any method, apparatus, or product covered by letters patent, nor as insuring anyone against liability for infringement ofletters patent.

This A.G.A. publication may be used by anyone desiring to do so. Efforts have been made to assure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in this publication; however, A.G.A. makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with A.G.A. publications and hereby expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from their use; for any violation of any federal, state, or municipal regulation with which an A.G.A. publication may conflict; or for the infringement of any patent from the use of any A.G.A. publication.

Copyright © 1996 American Gas Association All Rights Reserved


Report No. 7, Measurement of Gas by Turbine Meters was developed by a Transmission Measurement Committee task group, chaired by Daniel G. Harris, Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. Suggested revisions are invited and should be submitted to the Director, Engineering Services, American Gas Association, 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, V A 22209.


Henry W. Poellnitz, Ill, Chair Southern Natural Gas Company Birmingham, Alabama

Mike Frame

Great Lakes Gas Transmission Company Petoskey, Michigan

Ross A. Abrahamson Amoco Gas Company Texas City, Texas

Daniel G. Harris

Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. Charleston, West Virginia

Arturo Alva

El Paso Natural Gas Company El Paso, Texas

Donald F. Keeler

New York Sate Electric & Gas Binghamton, New York

Philip P. Barg, PE

NOV A Gas Transmission Calgary, Alberta, Canada

John R. Lansing

Southern California Gas Company Los Angeles, California

Jim S. Beeson

NorAm Gas Transmission Shreveport, Louisiana

William R. Loll

Consumers Power Company Jackson, Michigan

Frank Brown

Trunkline Gas Company Houston, Texas

Donna L. Marshall

Lone Star Pipeline Company Dallas, Texas

Cary Carter

Texas Gas Transmission Corporation Owensboro, Kentucky

Brad Massey

Williams Natural Gas Company Enid, Oklahoma

Glenn Dehler

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Kevin M. Moir

Michigan Consolidated Gas Company Detroit, Michigan

Jeffrey M. Dowdell

CNG Transmission Corporation Clarksburgh, West Virginia

Ronald D. Rich

Natural Gas Pipeline Company Lombard, Illinois,

Robert J. Schacht, Managing Committee Sponsor Northern Indiana Public Service Company Hammond, Indiana


.. ",~~.- .. »- ... ' .

Jerry P. Smith

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Houston, Texas

Marsha C. Yon Solartron, Incorporation Houston, Texas 77082

Chris M. Spriggs

Oklahoma Natural Gas Company Tulsa, Oklahoma

Daniel A. Zimmerman Reynolds Equipment Company Garland, Texas 75042

John W. Stuart

Pacific Gas and Electric Company San Francisco, California


James N. Witte Tenneco Energy Houston, Texas

Harry P. Bean Consultant

EI Paso, Texas

Committee Associates

Arun Bhattacharya Bovar/Western Research Houston, Texas 77042

Thomas R. Comerford Mercury Instruments, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio

Edgar B. Bowles, Jr. Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas

Fred N. De Busk

Daniel Flow Products, Inc. Houston, Texas

Edgar E. Buxton Consultant

St. Albans, West Virginia

Richard J. Ensch

DMD Division, Dresser Industries Inc. Houston, Texas

Paul Ceglia

Panametrics, Incorporated Waltham, Massachusetts

Larry J. Ewing

Precision Measurement, Inc. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dr. William Durgam Worcester Politechnic Institute Worcester, Massachusetts

Bernard J. Kemperman Equimeter, Incorporated Mineral Wells, Texas

John G. Gregor

Gas Research Institute Chicago, Illinois

Tushar Shah

American Meter Company, Automated Systems Scott Depot, West Virginia

Dr. Kenneth R Hall Texas A&M University College Station, Texas

Michael J. Kirik Equimeter, Inc. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

James H. Griffeth

Bristol Babcock Incorporated Houston, Texas

Wayne O. Wilson

Instromet Technology Corporation Pittsburgh, Philadelphia

T. L. Hillburn Turnbow Engineering Bartlesville, Oklahoma


Paul A. Hoglund Advisor

Bellevue, Washington

Paul 1. LaNasa CPL & Associates Houston, Texas

Ron McCarthy

Instromet Ultrasonic Technologies Houston, Texas

Robert 1. McKee

Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Jeffrey L. Savidge Gas Research Institute Chicago, Illinois

Jennifer Scott

National Institute, Standards/Tech. Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Kenneth E. Starling University of Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma

Pieter M. Vanderkam N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie Gronigen Netherlands

American Petroleum Institute Liaison

Dr. Raymond G. Teyssandier Texaco, Inc.

Bellaire, Texas

The American Gas Association (A.G.A.) Transmission Measurement Committee (TMC) is a broad-based representation of the natural gas measurement industry. A.G.A. provides a mechanism for their technical expertise and experience which is utilized to collectively prepare industry guidelines, recommendations and reports.


.. : ·""·">:;':'.~:.c',.··

o Introduction .

2 Construction ...... :......................................................................................................................................... 1

2.1 General.... 1

2.2 Body 3

2.3 Measuring Mechanism 3

2.4 Output Device 3

3 Installation 4

3.1 General 4

3.2 Installation Configurations 4

3.2.1 Recommended Installation for In-Line Meters 4

3.2.2 Optional Installation Configurations for In-Line Meters 6 Short-Coupled Installation 6 Close-Coupled Installation 6

3.2.3 Recommended Installation for Angle Body Meters 6

3.3 Straightening Vanes :......................................................................................... 6

3.4 Strainers or Filters 10

3.5 Over-Range Protection 10

3.6 Bypass 12

3.7 Additional Installation Requirements ] 2

3.8 Accessory Installation 12

3.8.1 Temperature Measurement 12

3.8.2 Pressure Measurement 12

3.8.3 Density Measurement 12

3.8.4 Accessory Devices 12

4 Operation 13

4.1 General : 13

4.2 Initial Startup 13

4.3 Maintenance and Inspection Frequency :............................................. 13

5 Performance Characteristics 13


5.2 5.3 5.4. 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.7.5 5.7.6 5.8 5.9 5.10 5.1I 5.12 5.12.1 5.12.2


Swirl Effect 13

Velocity Profile Effect 13

Fluid Drag Effect 14

Non-Fluid Drag 14

Repeatability 14

Meter Error, Uncertainty and Accuracy 14

Turbine Meter Performance Curves .. 15

Actual Flow Rate 15

Base Flow Rate 15

Linearity..................... 15

Pressure Loss . 15

Maximum Flow Rate 20

Minimum Flow Rate and Rangeability 20

Pulsation Effects............................................................................................................................ 20

Flow Velocity Pulsations 20

Pulsation Index 22


6 Volumetric Flow Measurement 24

6.1 Equations for Calculating Volumetric Flow 24

6.1.2 Flow Rate at Flowing Conditions 24

6.1.3 Flow Rate at Base Conditions 25

6.1.4 Pressure Multiplier 25

6.1.5 Temperature Multiplier 25

6.1.6 Flowing Temperature Multiplier 25

6.1.7 Multiplier 25

6.1.6 Compressibility Multiplier 25

7 Mass Flow Measurement .. 26

7.1 Equation for Calculating Mass Flow 26

8 Calibration 27

8.1 General 27

8.2 Determination of Calibration Factor 27

8.3 Presentation of Calibration Data 27

8.4 Calibration Methods 27

8.4.1 General 27

8.4.2 Bell Prover 28

8.4.3 Weigh Tank Prover 28

8.4.4 Transfer Prover 28

8.4.5 Critical Flow Orifice Prover and Sonic Nozzle Prover 28

8.4.6 In Line Orifice Meters 29

8.4.7 Module Interchange 29

9 Field Checks 30

9.1 General 30

9.2 Visual Inspection 30

9.3 Spin Time Test 30

References 32



This report of the Measurement Committees of the American Gas Association is submitted as an approach to the Measurement of Gas through Turbine Meters. It is published as a recommended practice and is not issued as a standard.


0.1 - In February 1976 the A.G.A Transmission Measurement Committee established a Turbine Meter Task Group with the duties as outlined:

0.1.1 - To recommend the correct methods of installing turbine meters for measuring gas.

0.1.2 - To recommend the necessary corrective factors and operative requirements in the use of turbine meters.

0.1.3 - To secure, if possible, the assignment of members from the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee ISOrrC30 "Measurement of Fluid Flow in Closed Conduits," and the ASME Standards Committee on "Measurement of Fluid Flow in Closed Conduits" to the Turbine Meter Task Group to assist in this work and to coordinate any foregoing Committee-sponsored standards on turbine meters to prevent major differences in published material.

0.2 - This Turbine Meter Task Group held its first meeting in May 1976 and discussed the various aspects of the work assigned to it. In subsequent meetings, drafts of the document were completed, and the final draft was approved by the AG.A Transmission and Distribution Measurement Committees in February 1980. The American Gas Association published the first printing of Report No.7 in late 1980. The first revision was printed .in late 1984.

0.3 - The material presented in this report was developed based on numerous tests conducted by the engineering and research staffs of the various manufacturers, gas distribution, transmission, and production companies. Accepted knowledge and the latest techniques were employed to determine the performance and installation requirements for turbine meters.


1.1 - This report and its recommendations relate and are limited to the axial-flow gas turbine meter in which the entire gas stream flows through the turbine meter body and impinges on the turbine meter rotor.

1.2 - This report covers the measurement of gas by turbine meters as related to the installation, operation, calibration practices and calculation methods for determining volumetric and mass flow. This report does not cover the equipment used in the determination of the pressures, temperatures, densities and other variables that must be known for the accurate determination of measured gas quantities. Reference to other publications is made in the discussion of this equipment.


2.1 - General

2.1.1 - The turbine meter consists of three basic components:

2.I.l.1 - The body - The measuring mechanism - The output device

2.1.2 - Schematics of axial-flow gas turbine meters are shown in Figures I and I-A Gas entering the meter increases in velocity through the annular passage formed by the nose cone and the interior wall of the body. The movement of gas over the angled rotor blades imparts a force to the rotor, causing it to revolve. The ideal rotational speed is directly proportional to the flow rate. The actual rotational speed is a function of the passageway size and shape, and the rotor design. It is also dependent upon the load that is imposed due to internal mechanical friction, fluid drag, external loading, and the gas density.

Inlet --l ..... __ Annular Passage

Inlet __..... Annular Passage

2.2 - Body

Turnine Rotor

Mechanism Housing and Tall Cone

Mechanical or Electrical Readout




End COnnection

Turbine Rotor

Electronic Pickup

Mechanism Housing and Tall Cone

----i~.. Outlet

Nose COne


2.2.1· The body and all other parts comprising the pressure containing structures should be designed and constructed of material suitable for the service conditions for which the meter is rated.

2.2.2 - The body end connections should be designed in accordance with the appropriate flange and threaded connection standards.

2.2.3 - The body should be identified to show the following: - Manufacturer's name. - Maximum capacity in actual volume units-actual cubic feet per hour. - Maximum allowable operating pressure, psig. - Serial number. - Inlet, stamped on the appropriate end connection, or an arrow indicating the direction of flow.

2.3 - Measuring Mechanism

,2.3.1 - The measuring mechanism consists of the turbine rotor, rotor shafting, bearings, flow passage area and the necessary support housing structure.

2.3.2 - There are two general mechanism configurations categorized by the way they are installed in the meter body: - The top or side entry type-the measuring mechanism is removable, as a unit, through a top or side flange without disturbing the end connections. - The end entry type-the measuring mechanism is removable, either as a unit or as separate pieces, through the end connections.

2.3.3 - The measuring mechanism should be permanently identified if it is removable as a unit with the following information: - Serial Number. - Direction offlow if module mounting is reversible.

2.4 - Output Device

2.4.1 - Turbine meters are available with mechanical drive and/or electrical pulse outputs.

2.4.2 - For meters with mechanical drive outputs, the output consists of shafting, gearing and other drive components needed to transmit the indicated rotor revolutions outside the body for uncorrected volume registration. Meters should be marked near the output drive to indicate the direction of rotation and the uncorrected volume per revolution. The intermediate gear assembly should be marked with the basic gear ratio, excluding the change gears. Change gears should be stamped with the size and the number of teeth.


2.4.3 - For meters with electrical pulse outputs, the output includes the pulse detector system and all electrical connections necessary to transmit the indicated rotor revolutions outside the body for uncorrected volume. Electrical pulse output and electronic devices shall be designed, and certified for the applicable electrical area classification which the device is installed.


3.1 - General

3.1.1 - The turbine meter is a fluid velocity-measuring device. The piping configuration immediately upstream of the meter should be such that the flow profile entering the meter has an axissymmetric distribution and is without jetting or swirl. Since the turbine meter construction is designed to direct the flow to the annular passage upstream of the rotor, it effectively tends to average the velocity profile of most normal flow conditions, thus minimizing the influence of minor flow distortions on meter performance.

3.1.2 - A flow conditioner, located in the upstream meter piping in accordance with piping configurations of Section 3.2, is recommended as it will eliminate most normal flow swirl conditions. Flow swirl conditions may be caused by pipe fittings, valves or regulators preceding the meter inlet piping. An integral flow conditioner installed in the entrance of the meter and part of the meter design will further eliminate remaining minor swirl conditions and reduce the necessary upstream pipe length in the case of strong jetting. However, regardless of location some flow conditioners wilt not eliminate the effect of strong jetting.

Section 3.3, Straightening Vanes, provides construction specifications for the traditional tube bundle type flow conditioner. This design has demonstrated its effectiveness in the reduction of swirl flow conditions. Flow conditioners of other designs may be used provided the turbine meter's performance is acceptable and when mutually agreed upon by the parties involved.

3.1.3 - The installation of a throttling device such as a regulator or partially closed valve is not recommended in close proximity to the meter. Where such installations are necessary, the throttling device should be placed an additional eight nominal pipe diameters upstream or an additional two nominal pipe diameters downstream in the in-line recommended installation in Figure 2. In installation. configurations illustrated in Figures 3, 4, and 5, the throttling device should be placed eight additional nominal pipe diameters ahead of the inlet vertical riser or an additional two nominal pipe diameters downstream of the outlet vertical riser. Placement of such a device in closer proximity to the meter may result in a higher uncertainty andlor reduced bearing life.

3.2 - Installation Configurations (Minimum Lengths)

3.2.1 - Recommended Installation for In-Line Meters The recommended installation requires a length of ten nominal pipe diameters upstream with the straightening vane outlet located at five nominal pipe diameters from meter inlet as shown in Figure 2. A minimum length of five nominal pipe diameters is recommended downstream of the meter. Both inlet and outlet pipe should be of the same nominal size as the meter. There shall be no pipe connections within the upstream or downstream piping other than pressure taps, temperature wells andlor flow conditioners, either flanged or in line.


Straightening Vanes

Space for VaJvlng


,__ goo Elbow

Space for Valving


NOTE: Additional upstream or downstream pipe lengths are required when throttling devices are installed Close to the meter .. Refer to Section 3.1.3.


The use of optional installation configurations may result in a higher measurement uncertainty. Short-Coupled Installation

In those instances where the required space for the recommended installation of Figure 2 is not available, a short-coupled installation may be employed as shown in Figure 3. This configuration utilizes a minimum of four nominal pipe diameters upstream with straightening vanes located at the inlet of the piping. The distance between the straightening vane outlet and the meter inlet should be a minimum of two nominal pipe diameters. The meter is connected to the vertical risers using a standard tee or elbow. The maximum pipe reduction to the risers is one nominal pipe size. Valving, filters, or strainers may be installed on the risers. Close-Coupled Installation

Close-coupled installation of a gas turbine meter is shown in Figure 4. The meter design must incorporate integral flow conditioners upstream of the rotor. This installation would be used where the available space for a meter installation is critical and design considerations have eliminated jetting and abnormal swirl conditions. The meter is connected to the vertical risers using a tee or elbow. The maximum pipe reduction to the risers is one nominal pipe size. Valving, filters, or strainers may be installed on the risers.

3.2.3- Recommended Installation for Angle Body Meters The recommended installation for an angle body meter is shown in Figure 5. It is recommended that the meter inlet piping be connected to the riser using a 900 elbow or tee. Valving, filter, or a strainer may be installed on the riser. When straightening vanes are not used, the upstream meter inlet piping length should be a minimum often nominal pipe diameters. When straightening vanes are used, the length of upstream pipe may be reduced to five nominal pipe diameters. The straightening vane inlet should be a minimum offive nominal pipe diameters from the meter inlet. There are no restrictions on the downstream piping except that the companion flange attached to the meter outlet must be full-size.

3.2-3.2- A vertical installation may be used and the same basic piping configuration applied as used in the horizontal installation.

3.3 - Straightening Vanes


The tube bundle type straightening vane as shown in Figure 6, is one type of flow conditioner. Specifications are provided as a guide for construction.


In construction of vanes the maximum transverse dimension, "a," of any passage through the vanes should not exceed one-fourth the inside diameter, "D," ofthe pipe. Also, the crosssectional area, "A," of any passage within the assembled vanes should not exceed one-sixteenth of the cross-sectional area of the containing pipe. The length, "L," of the vanes should be at least ten times the maximum inside dimension, "a."


Space for Valving

l===t /900 Elbow

Spool Assembly 4 Nominal Pipe Diameters Long

Turbine Meter

Temperature Well

___ r,'


" J

r I ~

o.J I I

1.. ....

2 Nominal

Pipe Diameters

NOTE: Additional upstream or downstream pipe lengths are required when throttling devices are installed close to the meter. Refer to Section 3.1,3.


90° Elbow

or Tee Maximum Reduction One Nominal Pipe Size

Temperature Well

- 11


[r I



Space for Valving


Space for Yalving

\JJ900 Elbow


NOTE: Additional upstream or downstream pipe lengths are required when throttling devices are installed close to the meter. Refer to Section 3.1.3.

Inlet Piping 10 Nominal Pipe Diameters Long

(5 Nominal Pipe Diameters with Straightening Vanes)

goo Elbow or Tee ~ Maximum. Reducti~~ . \. One Nominal :n .. --

Pipe Size : : :


., .

... 1 .. _


Turbine Meter

Straightening Yanes

Space for Varying Filter or Strainer

c=@.OO Elbow

Space for Valving


Horizontal Installation (Inlet in Horizontal Plane, Outlet Down)



3.3.3- The vanes may be built of standard weight pipe or thin-walled tubing, either welded together and securely attached into the meter inlet piping, or mounted into two end-rings small enough to slip into the pipe. The amount of passage blockage caused by the end-rings should be kept as small as practical. All tubes should be reamed as thin as practical at both ends.

3.3.4- Square, hexagonal, or other shaped tubing may be used in making the vanes. It is not necessary that all the vane passages be of the same size, but their arrangement should be symmetrical.




/L '..:
(j 1\
\\ /'
I- ~ ~
L 9

3.4.1- Foreign substances in a pipe line can cause serious damage to turbine meters. Strainers are recommended when the presence of damaging foreign material in the gas stream can be anticipated. Strainers should be sized so that at maximum flow there is minimal pressure drop and flow distortion.

3.4 - Strainers or Filters

3.4.2 - A greater degree of meter protection can be accomplished through the use ofa dry-type or separator-type filter installed upstream of the meter inlet piping. It is recommended that the differential pressure across a filter be monitored to maintain it in good condition so as to prevent flow distortion and possible customer outage.

3.5 - Over-Range Protection

3.5.1 - Sudden rotor overspeeding caused by extreme gas velocities may cause severe damage to the measuring mechanism. Extreme gas velocities can occur when pressuring, blowing down or purging the meter run. The operation offlow or pressure control devices and the downstream piping system can also create extreme gas velocities.

3.5.2· Some meters and secondary devices may be damaged when they are operated in a reverse direction. Therefore, the blow-down valve should be located downstream of the meter.

While some turbine meters can be operated up to 150% of rated capacity with no damaging effects for short periods oftime, over-sized blow-down valves can cause rotational speeds greatly in excess of this amount. As a rule of thumb, the blow-down valve should be sized as follows:

Meter Run

Valve Size

2" 3" 4"

6" thru 12"

l;4" ~" ~" 1"

3.5.3 - In those installations where excessive flow can occur as a result of the operation of the downstream piping system or as a result of the operation offlow or pressure control equipment, a restrictive device may be installed in the piping downstream of the meter run. The location of the restrictive device should be based upon the installation configurations of Section 3.2. The inline configuration should have the device located downstream of the recommended five nominal pipe diameters. For optional in-line configurations or the angle body meter installation, the restrictive device should not be installed closer than the flange of the first valve downstream of the meter. A critical flow orifice or sonic venturi nozzle may be sized to limit the flow through the meter to approximately 120% of the maximum rated meter capacity. Refer to the Sonic Venturi Nozzle and Critical Orifice Sizes Table. A permanent pressure loss will occur even at sub-critical flow rates when one of these devices is installed, therefore, adequate pressure must be available at the location. A critical flow device may result in up to a 50% permanent pressure loss at critical conditions as well as create objectionable noise levels.

3.6. - Bypass

3.6.1 - It is good practice to provide a bypass so the meter and meter run can be inspected, maintained and calibrated without service interruption. This should include proper valving and pipe connections relative to the type of calibration equipment to be used. Consideration should be given to prevent inadvertent bypassing of the meter.



4 4.8 0.55 0.64
4.5 5.4 0.58 0.68
9 10.8 0.82 0.96
10 12 0.86 1.01
16 19.2 1.09 1.27
18 21.6 1.16 1.35
30 36 1.49 1.74
36 43.2 1.63 1.91
60 72 2.11 2.47
140 168 3.22 3.77
150 180 3.33 3.90 Above based on empirical formula:

Venturi Air Rate (ACFH)==[DfA.-lN.]2 0.00893

Gas Rate (ACFH) == -J1 / 0.6 x air rate = ] .291 x air rate

Gas Rate(ACFH)=1.291 [DfA.-fN.]2 0.00893

(0.00893)2 x gas rate DlA.- IN. (VENTURI) =


DlA.-IN. (VENTURJ) = (0.00786 Jgas rate

Orifice DIA.- IN. = 1.17 x VENTURI DIA.


3.7 ~ Additional Installation Requirements

3.7.1 - The meter and meter piping should be adequately supported and installed so as to minimize strain on the meter body due to pipeline stresses.

3.7.2 - A concentric alignment of the companion pipe flanges with the meter inlet and outlet connections should be obtained. This concentric alignment will eliminate any appreciable effect on meter uncertainty that might be caused by an offset in the internal diameters that may occur in some installations.

3.7.3 - A gasket protrusion into the bore or flow pattern at the meter connections is not permitted.

3.7.4 - The roughness of the interior pipe surface should not be greater than the roughness of commercial quality pipe. The surface shall be free of rust or scale. The flange LD. should correspond with the nominal meter body I.D .. Welds on piping at the meter inlet and outlet should be ground to the J.D. of the pipe.

3.7.5 - Installations where liquid can be encountered should be designed to prevent liquid accumulation in the meter and meter run.

3.7.6 - No welding should be done in the immediate area of the meter to prevent possible internal meter damage.

3.8 - Accessory Installation

Accessory devices used to either convert uncorrected (actual) volume to base. conditions or for recording operating parameters must be properly installed and their connections made as specified herein.

3.8.1 - Temperature Measurement Since upstream disturbances should be kept to a minimum, the recommended location for a thermometer well is between one and five nominal pipe diameters downstream of the meter. It should be located upstream of any valve or flow restrictor. The thermometer well is to be installed to insure that the measured temperature is not influenced by heat transfer from the piping and/or well attachment.

3.8.2 - Pressure Measurement The pressure tap as provided by the manufacturer on the meter body should be used as the point of pressure sensing for secondary instruments. This tap is not to be used for a blowdown, gas supply point or any other purpose.

3.8.3 - Density Measurement In the use of densitometers, while it is desirable to sample the gas as close as possible to the rotor conditions, care must be exercised not to disturb the meter inlet flow or to create an unmetered bypass. Densitometers should be installed downstream of the turbine meter. References should be made to manuals on the various densitometers for further information.

3.8.4 - Accessory Devices Accessory devices and instrumentation such as meter driven chart recorders or devices to convert uncorrected (actual) volume to base conditions must be properly installed and maintained. Such devices must not create excess torque loads on the turbine meter which could increase measurement uncertainty at low flow rates. Accessory devices should not significantly affect the spin time of the turbine meter. (Refer to Section 9.3.4)



4.1 - General




4.1.]- For maximum life and sustained accuracy, turbine meters should be operated within their specified flow range. Overspeeding of the rotor will cause premature wearing of the internal parts and can cause damage to the rotor and/or rotor bearings. As mentioned earlier, turbine meters are capable of operating at modest overloads for short periods, but continued overloading should be avoided by proper meter sizing.

4.1.2 - Turbine meters should be pressured and placed in service slowly. Shock-loading by opening block valves quickly will usually result in rotor and/or bearing damage.The installation ofa small bypass line around the upstream meter isolating valve can be utilized to safely pressure the meter to its operating pressure.

4.2 - Initial Setup

4.2.1 - Removal of pipeline debris is a must and, as mentioned in Section 3.4, can be handled by the installation of either a filter or strainer. In addition, added care should be taken when a new meter installation is placed in service. Construction debris such as welding beads or dirt should be removed from station piping. This should be done before the meter is installed, but if that is not feasible, then the meter mechanism must be removed to prevent damage. Likewise, any hydrostatic testing must be done with the meter or meter mechanism removed.

4.3 - Maintenance and Inspection Frequency

In addition to sound design and installation procedures, turbine meter performance is dependent on good' maintenance and frequent adequate inspections. The time between meter inspection periods is dependent on the gas condition and/or contract specifications. Meters used in dirty gas applications will require more frequent attention than those used with clean gas, and inspection periods should reflect this aspect. When strainers or filters are installed, scheduled visual inspections should be made as required and the pressure differential across the strainer or filter should be checked. Additionally, some turbine meters are equipped with external bearing lubrication points. These permit lubrication ofthe bearings while the meter is in service. Flowing gas conditions dictate the lubrication frequency.


5.1 - Swirl Effect

5.1.1 - The turbine meter is designed for, and calibrated under, a condition which approaches axial flow at the rotor inlet. If the fluid at the rotor inlet has significant swirl (mainly tangential components), the rotor speed at a given flow rate will be different from that for axial flow. A swirl in the direction of rotor rotation will usually increase the rotor speed whereas a swirl in the opposite direction will usually decrease the rotor speed. Such a swirl effect must be reduced to an insignificant level through proper installation practices as described previously.

5.2 - Velocity Profile Effect

5.2.1 - Meter designs and piping installation configurations included in this report attempt to condition the flow to achieve a symmetric, uniform velocity distribution at the rotor inlet. In those cases where there is a distortion of the velocity profile at the rotor inlet, the rotor speed at a given flow rate will be affected. For a given average flow rate, generally a non-uniform velocity profile results in a higher rotor speed than a uniform velocity profile.


5.3 - Fluid Drag Effect

5.3.] - Fluid retarding torques on the rotor system (e.g., fluid drag on the rotor blades, blade tips, and rotor hub) cause the rotor to slip from its ideal speed. The amount of rotor slip due to the overall


fluid drag is known to be a function ofa dimensionless ratio of inertia to viscous forces called the Reynolds Number, and therefore is frequently termed the "Reynolds number effect." Figure 7 shows the Reynolds number effect on the rotor speed.

5.4 - Non-Fluid Drag Effect

5.4.1 - There is a decrease in rotor speed (rotor slip) from its ideal speed due to the non-fluid retarding torques (e.g., bearing friction, mechanical or electrical readout drag). For a given overall nonfluid retarding torque and a given flow velocity, the amount of rotor slip depends on the flow rate and density of the gas, and therefore, is frequently called the "density effect." Figure 8 shows qualitatively the density as well as the Reynolds number effects in the low Reynolds number region on the turbine meter performance curve (solid lines) for various pressures.

5.5 - Repeatability

5.5.1 - Repeatability is the ability of the meter to duplicate a given output or performance for test runs with an identical set of flowing conditions. There are two types of repeatability: (1) repeatability on successive identical test runs and (2) repeatability over a longer time basis such as daily, monthly, or yearly (also under identical operating, conditions).

5.5.2 - Disregarding random errors caused by the proving system, most gas turbine meters under normal conditions are capable of ± 0.10% repeatability on successive short-duration test runs and ± 0.15% on a day-to-day basis. Good repeatability over longer periods is dependent on minimal changes in the physical conditions of the meter.

5.6 - Meter Error, Uncertainty and Accuracy

5.6.1 - Meter error at a given flow rate can be determined from a performance curve as illustrated in Figure 9. This curve is produced by testing each meter against a prover system at several different flow rates, then plotting a curve through the test points. An optimum K factor is then calculated so that the meter error at any flow rate within the range of the meter, will fall within the manufacturer's specified error band which is typically ± 1%. The shape of the error curve shown in Figure 9 is typical of a test in air at atmospheric pressure. For smaller error, meters can be tested in fluid conditions near the meter's intended operating conditions. The error curve may then have a shape different from that in Figure 9 and may be more like the elevated pressure portions of the curve in Figure 10.

5.6.2 - A complete statement of measurement error would have to include the measurement uncertainty of the prover system. Measurement uncertainty results from random errors and unknown bias errors in the prover system and is typically in the order of ± 0.2 to ± 0.5% . Because prover system uncertainty is based on errors that should be small and random, it is usually not included in the meter error statement.

5.6.3 - Meter accuracy is defined as 100% plus the measurement error (which can be positive or negative). It generally does not include prover system uncertainty.

5.7- Turbine Meter Performance Curve

5.7.1 - Turbine meter performance curves can be plotted against base flow rate, actual flow rate or pipe Reynolds number depending on the intended purpose of the curves.


· ." ,.

5.7.2 - As explained in paragraph 5.4. I and Figure 8, plotting rotor speed or meter error against pipe Reynolds number (or SCFH) shows the effect of density (generally, pressure) in the low Reynolds number regime where non-fluid (mechanical) drag is significant.

5.7.3 - Meter test data from different pressures (or other differing flow conditions) can be plotted to form a single characteristic curve, for test data at the higher Reynolds numbers where non-fluid drag (mechanical drag) effects are small. Test data can be plotted against Reynolds number, or, ifmore convenient, against base flow rate (which is proportional to Reynolds number) as in Figure 10. Significant differences between the test data where they overlap for differing pressures indicates possible. problems with the meter or the prover system.

5.7.4 - Plots of meter test data from different pressures (or differing flow conditions) against actual flow rate (ACFH) may not necessarily form a single characteristic curve and may show a seemingly unrelated series of curves. This is because curves plotted in this manner will show the effects of both non-fluid drag (mechanical drag) and Reynolds number (fluid drag).

5.7.5 - Actual Flow Rate

When plotted against actual flow rate, the meter performance curves at various pressures are generally a family of distinctive curves, deviating somewhat from the atmospheric pressure curve illustrated in Figure 9.

5.7.6 - Base Flow Rate

When meter performance is plotted against the base flow rate or Reynolds number, the meter performance curve tends to approach a single characteristic curve when the Reynolds number effect is predominant as shown in Figure 10.

5.8 - Linearity

5.8.1 - Linearity refers to the constancy of the K factor over a specified flow range, defined by either the pipe Reynolds number or the flow rate. This linear flow range is usually specified by a. band defined by maximum and minimum K factors, within which the K factor is assumed K mean. The. upper and lower limits of this range can be specified by the manufacturer as either a maximum and minimum Reynolds number range; flow rate range of a specific fluid; or other design limitation such as pressure, temperature, or installation effects.

5.9 - Pressure Loss

5.9.1 - The pressure loss of a turbine meter is attributed to the energy required for driving the meter and the losses due to the internal passage friction including changes in flow area and direction. The pressure loss is usually measured at a point upstream and a point downstream of the meter on piping of the same size as the meter. These locations are specified by the manufacturer (usually one pipe diameter upstream and downstream).

5.9.2 - The meter pressure loss, DPtp, at conditions other than DPrl for rated conditions specified by manufacturer, can be calculated since the pressure loss basically follows the turbulent flow loss relationship (except at very low flow rates):

Eq (1)


o W I.LI c,


a: o tO a::


-c ROTOR SLIP DUE TO FLUID DRAG (Reynolds Number EffectJ




~ ROTOR SUP DUE TO FLUID DRAG (Reynolds Number Effect)


• •


~ {DenSity Effect) for ( Pf IPb) = 1

..... , .....


~~------.- .. --.-.----.~-----------------~--.











--- .... ----- ..... ----------------- .... ----_--------



~ 1---------,





BASE FLOW RATE IN SCFH (Proportional to Pipe Reynolds Number)


In terms of pressure loss at rated conditions and from the equation of state of a real gas, it follows:

The maximum base flow rate Qb can be expressed as:


Eq (2)

(Q )2 (G )(P)( )( )

-IlP f f f t; z,

- r Qr Gr P; Tf Z f

Eq (3)


G = Gas Relative Density (Specific Gravity) P = Absolute Pressure

Q = Volume Flow Rate

T = Absolute Temperature Z'" Compressibility

p = Mass Density of Gas

Subscripts: b = Base Conditions

f = Flowing Conditions r = Rate Conditions

tp = Specific Temperature and Pressure Conditions

5.10 - Maximum Flow Rate

5.10.1 - Turbine meters are generally designed for a maximum line flow rate QI' so as not to exceed a


certain rotor speed in rpm. This maximum flow rate of the meter remains the same (unless stated otherwise) for all pressures within the stated maximum meter operating pressure; i.e., the maximum rotor speed remains the same regardless of the pressure.

Eq (4)

Eq (5)

5.11 - Minimum Flow Rate and Raugeability

5.11.1 - The minimum base flow rate (or minimum capacity rating) for a turbine meter is the lowest flow rate at which the meter will operate within some specified uncertainty or error limit. Obviously, the minimum flow rate depends on the error limit chosen. Usually, this limit is set at ±1.0 %. Generally the minimum flow rate depends on the magnitude of non-fluid drag and the density of the measured gas. The minimum base flow rate is:


The range of operating flows for accurate measurement increase approximately as the square

root of the pressure ratio. ~ PI . The turbine meter has a relatively large range at atmospheric and PI'

this increases as the system pressure increases.

Generally the rated temperatures and pressures are close to the base temperature and pressures. In this case:

Eq (7)

The minimum line flow rate is:

Eq (8)

Frequently the temperature and compressibility ratios are close to unity and can be neglected for purposes of approximation. The operating range of the gas turbine meter is the flow range over which the meter will operate within its specified performance (generally ± 1%). In general, the turbine meter range will vary directly with the square root of the gas density. As the density increases, the linearity of the meter will be extended to a lower line flow rate while the upper limit of the line flow rate remains fixed by other design considerations as stated above. Thus

R bility Qfmax Qbmax «.: angea 1 I = --- =--- = ---

Q f min Qb min Qr min

Eq (9)


G '" Gas Relative Density (Specific Gravity) P = Absolute Pressure

Q = Volume Flow Rate

T = Absolute Temperature Z = Compressibility

Subscripts: b "" Base Conditions

f = Flowing Conditions r = Rate Conditions

tp = Specific Temperature and Pressure Conditions

5.12 - Pulsation Effects

5.12.1- Flow Velocity Pulsations

The measurement accuracy of turbine meters can be affected by rapid fluctuations in flow velocity, i.e, flow pulsations. The error is generally positive because the rotor accelerates faster to a higher gas flow velocity than it decelerates to a lower flow velocity (Figure 11). Thus the rotor spends more time at the higher speed. The faster acceleration is caused by the rotor driving force being proportional to the gas velocity squared.


The magnitude of pulsation error depends on the amplitude and frequency of the flow velocity variations, average flow rate, meter size, gas density, rotor inertia, and other factors. It is important to note that turbine meter pulsation error depends on the variations in flow velocity into the meter and not on the variations in pressure. Also, because of pulsation waves reflecting and resonating in the meter piping, the velocity and pressure variations at the meter mayor may not be simply translated from one to the other.

1 = (Villa); - Vmin) / 2 (Vmax + Vmin) /2

Eq (11)

For accurate flow measurement, turbine meters should be isolated from compressors and other equipment which produce flow pulsations which are too rapid for the turbine rotor to follow. It should be noted that pulsations can travel downstream or upstream, against the flow of gas, and many miles of pipe may be required to reduce the pulsation level by 50% . Therefore, the installation ofa properly designed pulsation damper is usually the most cost effective way to isolate a turbine meter from a pulsation source.

Furthermore, resonance within the local piping can be excited anytime that pulsation energy is not controlled. Piping lengths upstream or downstream of a turbine meter, between headers, filters, main lines, tees, regulators, closed valves, capped stubs, or significant line size changes, should not be integer multiples of the quarter wave length at the predominate compressor or flow generated pulsation frequency. Even with a valve closed on one end ofa meter run, resonating pulsation can be strong enough to rotate the turbine meter rotor.

5.12.2 - Pulsation Index

Flow pulsations can be quantified by the use of a flow velocity modulation or flow pulsation index number, I.

Flow Pulsation Index, 1

Symmetrical waves:

Va-pk Vpk_pk


Val'g 2 Vavg

Eq (10)

Non-symmetrical waves or where V""g is not known:

(Vmax ._ Vmin) o.: + Vmin )

where for the pulsating flow:

V""g = average flow velocity

V",a.< = maximum flow velocity

V"'1II = minimum flow velocity

V".pk = average-to-peak flow velocity amplitude

~'k'l'k = peak-to-peak flow velocity amplitude


When measuring flow velocity pulsations, the test instrumentation should be fast enough to capture any higher pulsation frequencies to determine the true values of V max and Vmin•

Tests have shown that maximum meter error due to flow pulsation (Em",,) is related to the flow pulsation index. The test data is expressed by Em"" (%). 70 e.

Using this expression for design purposes, flow pulsations should be attenuated to keep the pulsation index below 0.04, thus limiting the pulsating flow meter error to 0.1 %. A maximum pulsation index of 0.06 is recommended to limit this meter error to 0.25%.

Existing installations can be checked for excessive flow pulsation using a fast response differential pressure transducer sensing an orifice plate installed close to the turbine meter. A hot-wire anemometer with sufficient frequency response can also be used. Other possible techniques are 1) sensing the differential pressure drop from the inlet of the turbine meter to the turbine meter pressure tap, 2) analyzing the fluctuations in turbine meter rotor speed and 3) monitoring the ratio of rotor speeds in double-rotor turbine meters.

Flow Velocity --+r---.-------..

Rotor Speed ---+.

""_ - ..... - - - .. - .

;'. *' _ /. ~~g~ ~~tor Speed

Avg. Flow Velocity and True Avg. Rotor Speed

. .



Meter Error OueTo Pulsating Flow

Figure 11. Turbine meter response to step pulsating flow, showing a net meter overrun.


~.,,:." .

:,~);"J.';' ;,;;,~;f;i".;fi;,~I~;'j;~ij}'i:;~ir;,W,;,;" ";;i .. :.",:"" '.,.'.. ,', ..' ',' ., -; .: , '. "".""..' ,

6.1 - Equations for Calculating Volumetric Flow

6.1.1 - The turbine meter is a velocity measuring device. It depends upon the flow of gas to cause the meter rotor to tum at a speed proportional to the flow rate. Rotor revolutions are counted mechanically or electrically, and can be converted to a continuously totalized volumetric registration. Since the registered volume is at flowing pressure and temperature conditions, it must be corrected to the specified base conditions for billing purposes. The index of the turbine meter indicates volume at flowing conditions so this value must be corrected to the base conditions.

The basic gas law relationship is expressed as follows:

(P) (V) = (Z) (N) (R) (J' ) For Flowing Conditions

Eq (12)


(P /» (Vb) -(Z/» (N) (R) (J'b)

For Base Conditions

Eq (13)

Where P = Absolute pressure V=Volume

Z = Compressibility

N = Number of moles of gas T= Absolute Temperature R = Universal gas constant

Subscripts f = Flowing conditions b = Base Conditions

Since R is a constant for the gas regardless of pressure and temperature, and for the same number of moles of gas N, the two equations can be combined to yield:

Eq (14)

6.1.2 - Flow Rate at Flowing Conditions

Eq (15)

Where Q f Vr

Flow rate at flowing conditions Volume timed at flowing conditions

Counter difference on mechanical drive output

= Total pulses x_..!._x METER FACTOR on electrical pulse output K

t K

= Time

= K-Factor pulses per cubic foot

A meter factor is a dimensionless term obtained by dividing the actual volume of gas passed through the meter (as measured by a prover during proving) by the corresponding meter indicated


volume. For subsequent metering operations, the throughput or actual measured volume is determined by multiplying the indicated volume registered by the meter times the meter factor.

6.1.3 ~ Flow Rate at Base Conditions


6.1.4 w Pressure Multiplier

Pressure Multiplier = PI Pb

Eq (17)

Where P I = PI + P;

p j= Static gauge pressure, psig P; = Atmospheric pressure, psia P b = Base pressure, psia

6.1.5 ~ Temperature Multiplier

T Temperature Multiplier = _b


Eq (18)

Where Tb = Base Temperature "R

Tj = Flowing Temperature "R

Absolute temperature, OR = of + 459.67°

6.1.6 - Compressibility Multiplier

Compressibility Multiplier = !:..E_ ZI

Eq (19)

Where Zh = Compressibility at base conditions

Z 1= Compressibility at flowing conditions

The compressibility multiplier can be evaluated from the supercornpressibility factor Fpv, as follows:

Eq (20)

Where natural gas mixtures are being measured, compressibility values may be determined from the latest edition of A.G.A. Transmission Measurement Committee Report No.8 "Compressibility Factors of Natural Gas and Other Related Hydrocarbon Gases" or as specified in contracts or tariffs or as mutually agreed to by both parties.



7.1 - Equation for Calculating Mass Flow

7.1.1 - Mass flow measurement can be employed to arrive at base volume (Vb) or base volume flow rate (Qb) through the use of a turbine meter and densitometer. Gas density at flowing conditions may be determined by an on-line densitometer. The density measurement should be corrected for the estimated difference between the density at the turbine rotor and the conditions at the densitometer. Refer to the manufacturer's manuals. The mass or mass rate of flow is simply defined as:

Eq (21)

Where w :0; Total mass through meter

V f :0; Total volume through meter R.r "" Density of flowing gas


Eq (22)

Where w :0; Mass rate of flow through meter Q.r= Volume rate of flow (actual or index) R.r = Density of flowing gas

Since the mass or mass rate offlow at flowing conditions equals the mass at base conditions it can be stated that:

Eq (23)

Eq (24)


The above equations show that the base volume (Vb) or base volume flow rate (Q,J can be calculated by knowing the density of the fluid at both flowing and base conditions without the need to measure the flowing pressure (Pf) or the flowing temperature (TJ and calculating the compressibility multiplier. As an alternate to using a densitometer to determine the base density ("b) , a gravitometer can be used. The equation is as follows:

(Pb) =2.69881 PbGr Eq(26)


Where: Pb Tb Gr

:0; Base or contract absolute pressure

:0; Base or contract absolute temperature

= Real gas relative density (specific gravity) at base or contract pressure and temperature

= Compressibility of dry air at base or contract pressure and temperature-s- 0.999590 at 14.73 psia and 600P.

Zb (AIR)



8.1 - General

8.1.1 - Most gas turbine meter manufacturers perform calibrations using air at pressures below 100 psig.

Arrangements can be made for calibration at higher pressures. Field tests can also be made at higher pressures by using sonic nozzles, piston provers or calibrated transfer meters.

8.1.2 - Turbine meter manufacturers will state an error of ± 1 % over a specified flow range for any operating density. Turbine meters are capable of ± 0.25% error over a specified flow range if they are individually calibrated against an acceptable standard at the particular density at which they will be operated. Therefore, the most accurate turbine meter performance is obtained when each meter is calibrated under density conditions approaching the meter's actual operating density. If meter calibration at operating density is impractical, it is necessary to rely on the manufacturer's prediction of the calibration shift to be expected between the calibrating and operating densities.

8.1.3 - Meter users should be aware that meter error is the difference between the meter indication and that of the prover used to calibrate the meter, and that there is uncertainty on this error due to the prover system. This uncertainty results from the precision (random) errors and unknown bias errors (it is assumed that known bias errors are calibrated out) of the prover system components, i.e., associated with transducer calibration, data acquisition, data processing and system operation. Less than perfect meter repeatability in back-to-back runs may be due to prover uncertainty and/or resolution of meter generated data.

8.2 - Determination of Calibration Factor

8.2.1 - It is a general practice, and most convenient, to use a fixed meter calibration factor over the whole range of flow rates. This will be a calibration factor "K" (pulses per cubic foot) for an electrical output. However, the meter factor curve may be used. For mechanical output meters, the factor is set by choosing "change gears" that make each meter output shaft revolution represent a definite volume, e.g., 100 or 1000 cubic feet at flowing conditions.

8.3 - Presentation of Calibration Data

8.3.1 - For near constant operating conditions, plotting the meter calibration curve as a function of the actual line flow rate is preferred. However, for situations where the operating conditions vary considerably, it may be preferred to plot the meter calibration curve as a function of base flow rate or pipe Reynolds number.

8.4 - Calibration Methods

8.4.1 - General

The term "calibration methods" as used here encompasses those procedures used for initial calibration by the manufacturer, for checking the accuracy of the turbine meter by the user, and for recalibrating the meter if major repairs are done. The same techniques can be applied to field, shop, or laboratory installations. To become knowledgeable in the test method and proper application of the correction factors, it is recommended that reference be made to instruction manuals and reports covering the device used to perform calibrations. It should be noted that calibration results from laboratories and field tests can and do differ as a result of the stability of testing conditions, installation conditions, reference standards and test media. The major difference is the fluid used for testing (air or gas). The same procedures and techniques are recognized and have been used for years. This section describes the test equipment and methods which are currently available and accepted for determining the accuracy of meters. It is


:,_ . .-: ·'-::'i : .. ::; .. ;::::.:.: ...• ::_: .. : .. ~ ::::.: :: _ ::;


important to establish the type offield testing which will be used before making the initial installation, since the piping should be designed to facilitate the attachment of the proving equipment. The uncertainty of the turbine meter should be checked up to the anticipated flow rate that the meter will be subjected. - Although direct calibration ofa turbine meter against a bell prover is limited, as mentioned under "Bell Prover," it is possible to develop a turbine meter as an accurate high-pressure reference meter traceable to the bell prover. To accomplish this, the accuracy curve of a large. turbine meter can be determined using two or more smaller turbine meters which have been calibrated against a bell prover. A series of transfer proving tests back and forth between the larger meter and smaller meters, in a highpressure flow facility, can be conducted so as to gradually extend the calibration of the meters, based on Reynolds number concept, to higher pressures and to those flow rates where the non-fluid drag effect is insignificant.

8.4.2 - Bell Prover - The bell prover is widely used as a reference standard, and, when properly used, it can be one of the most accurate and repeatable of all low-pressure standards (Reference

ANSI B 109.2, Section 6.5.5). - Meters tested against a bell prover are usually operated near the bell pressure (a few inches of water); however, it is possible to test the meter at several times the atmospheric pressure. This is accomplished by expanding the gas from the meter, through a throttling valve, to the bell pressure before entering the bell.

8.4.3 - Weigh Tank Prover

Weigh tank systems are a primary calibration technique, which collect a mass of the operating condition gas in a pressure vessel over a specific period of time. The mass of gas collected in the pressure vessel and the time are accurately measured to determine the mass flow rate and hence to calibrate the turbine meter in the same flow stream. Care must be taken that a transient in flow at the turbine meter is not introduced by diversion of gas to the weigh tank and that the pulse accumulating period for the turbine meter corresponds accurately to the weigh tank period. Weigh tank systems can be operated over a range of pressures and volume rates to calibrate turbine meters at different operating conditions.

8.4.4 - Transfer Prover - The principle of transfer proving consists of testing a meter against a master or reference meter of known accuracy. Caution must be exercised in the use of master meters to assure that pulsating flow or swirl conditions are not transmitted to the turbine meter, causing inaccurate calibration. A.G.A. Report No.6, Part 111, 1975 describes the general techniques of transfer proving.

8.4.5 ~ Critical-Flow-Orifice Prover and Sonic-Nozzle Prover - Critical-flow-orifice provers and sonic-nozzle provers operate with a pressure drop above a specified (critical) pressure ratio. The critical-flow-orifice prover requires that the exit pressure be less than 50% of the absolute inlet pressure and the gas or air vented to atmosphere. A.G.A Report No.6, Part IV, 1975, gives a description of the critical-flow orifice and methods for performing a general field calibration.

28 - The major difference between the critical-flow orifice and the sonic nozzle is that the sonic nozzle. will operate correctly at a lower overall pressure drop. The discharge section of the sonic nozzle is designed like a venturi, and a large part of the pressure loss is recovered. To operate correctly, the absolute discharge pressure must be about 80% of the absolute inlet pressure. With this minimal pressure drop, the gas discharge can be placed into a lower pressure system eliminating the need to discharge to atmosphere. Proving methods and calculation descriptions are given in American Meter Bulletin AIM211.1 entitled "Sonic Flow Nozzle Prover" or a paper entitled "Sonic Nozzles" presented at the 1975 Appalachian Gas Measurement Short Course. - The critical-flow orifice is calibrated to ± 0.5% and the sonic nozzle is calibrated to ± 0.15% at operating conditions. To obtain this high degree of accuracy, accurate determination of the basic orifice or nozzle coefficient, upstream pressure, upstream temperature and gas composition must be made. - These provers are fixed-flow devices. This means that a nozzle or a critical-flow orifice of a given throat diameter (bore) will provide only one flow rate at a particular pressure. Therefore, to develop an accuracy curve over the operating flow range of the turbine meter, several nozzles or orifices of different throat sizes must be used. - When checking the accuracy of a turbine meter, a single test rate (at a minimum), run between 25 and 80% of maximum capacity, will normally be sufficient to validate its current accuracy level. Proper correlation between the original accuracy curve and the single rate check, stated above, can be made only if both tests are run under the same density conditions.

8.4.6 - In-Line Orifice Meters - Differential pressure meters using thin-plate squared-edge orifices are frequently utilized by the gas industry for checking turbine meters. Calculation methods are given in ANSI/API 2530-92 (A.G.A. Report No.3, API 14.3, OPA 8185-92). It is preferable that, for a high level of accuracy, the basic orifice and Reynolds number factors for each plate be established by actual calibration. Orifice meters are inferential devices and require knowledge of the gas specific gravity if used for testing in natural gas. The control and accurate measurement of temperature, pressure, and differential pressure are very important if accurate results are to be obtained.

8.4.7 - Module Interchange - During the early development of the turbine meter for the gas industry, it was determined that alternative methods of testing would be required when on-site proving was not economical or feasible.

Some turbine meter manufacturers and users conducted tests to determine turbine meter accuracy stability when interchanging meter mechanisms from one meter body to another of the same manufacturer, size and model. These tests were conducted with meters installed in a conventional as well as a close-coupled piping configuration. Based on these tests, it was concluded that performance and accuracy are not adversely affected when interchanging mechanisms from one body to another when installed in either a conventional or short close-coupled setting. This practice enables the user to pretest modules at a central location under controlled conditions to replace a module which is due for field change-out on a scheduled basis or one that has been damaged or is in need of repair.


Before pursuing a testing program based on module change-out, the user should first consult with the turbine meter manufacturer to determine if sufficient test data has been developed to assure that performance and accuracy are not adversely affected when modules are interchanged.


9.1 - General

9.1.1 - The most commonly applied field checks are the visual inspection and spin-time test. Meters which are operating can often yield information by the generated noise or vibrations they emanate. If the meter has severe vibration, it usually is indicative ofa damaged rotor which has become unbalanced, and this condition will lead to complete rotor failure. Rotor rubbing or worn bearings can often be heard at relatively low flow rates when such noises are not masked by normal flow sound.


9.1.2 - A turbine meter can also be field checked by either another meter in series or a check rotor in tandem with the metering rotor in a two-rotor turbine meter. In the case of two meters in series, the check meter (a turbine meter or other suitable meter) must be installed relative to the field meter

so that there is no effect on either meter's accuracy by the presence of the check meter. The effects of flowing pressure and temperature on both meters must be considered along with the accuracy of the check meter at operating conditions. In the case of the two-rotor turbine meter, the check rotor is placed immediately downstream of the metering rotor, and both rotors are calibrated as an integral meter. Field checking can then be achieved by comparing the ratio of these two rotor outputs at field conditions with that at calibration conditions.

9.2 - Visual Inspection

9.2.1 - In visual inspections, the rotor should be inspected for missing blades, accumulation of solids, erosion, or other damage that would affect the rotor balance and the blade configuration. Meter internals should also be checked to insure there is no accumulation of debris, particularly in flow passageways, drains, breather holes, and lubrication systems. A visual inspection offlow conditioners, the upstream and downstream piping should also be made.

9.3 - Spin Time Test

9.3.1 - The spin time test determines the relative level of the mechanical friction in the meter. The spin time is not indicative of meter accuracy. If the mechanical friction has increased significantly, it would indicate that the accuracy characteristic of the meter at low flow rates has degraded. Spin times for individual meters and the meter at various stages of disassembly are provided by the man ufacturer.

9.3.2 - The spin time test must be conducted in a draft free area with the measuring mechanism in its normal operating position. The rotor is set into rotation and is timed from the initial motion until the rotor stops.

9.3.3 - The usual cause for a change in spin time is increased rotor shaft bearing friction. It should be noted, however, that there are other components whose mechanical friction affects spin time, i.e., gear trains and readout devices. The spin times at various stages of disassembly will help to identify problem areas.

9.3.4 - When accessory devices (index, integrating gauge, pulse generators, etc.) are installed, care should be taken to assure that no excess friction has been introduced. The preferred method of determining the torque load present would be to perform the spin time test with accessory devices in place. If the resulting spin time is not within the manufacturer's specified range, the accessory devices should be removed, the spin time test repeated and the problem area identified and corrected. Initially and periodically, a spin test should be performed with spin times noted to ascertain the mechanical freeness of the module complete with accessory devices.

9.3.5 - Spin tests should be repeated at least three times and the average time taken. Conditions which affect the spin test are: heavily lubricated bearings, low ambient temperature, drafts, and attached accessories.

9.3.6 - After lubrication, the meter should be run for several minutes to throw off excess oil from the bearings before performing a spin test.

9.3.7 - When a meter that has been idle for a long period oftime fails to meet the manufacturer's specified minimum spin time, it should be lubricated and then run for several minutes before repeating the spin test. A subsequent spin test failure may require a systematic disassembly with spin tests at various stages to identify the problem. Cleaning or replacement of the responsible component(s) may be required. Bearings, shafts, or gearing may be replaced on some meters without affecting the turbine meter's calibration accuracy. Consult the manufacturer for specific recommendations.

9.3.8 - The manufacturer's recommendations should be followed concerning lubrication of new meters prior to service start-up, and then periodically during service. Various methods may be available to accomplish the lubrication. The preferred method is one that provides a positive pressure in excess of the operating line pressure (i.e. manual pump gun). This will insure a positive lubrication and flushing of the rotor shaft bearings. A gravity lubrication method should be used in the absence of a pressure system. The severity of the service will determine the frequency of lubrication. Monthly lubrication is the generally recommended starting frequency. Points other than the rotor shaft bearings may require periodic lubrication as recommended by the manufacturer. Turbine meters intended for use as transfer master meters or for laboratory controlled comparison testing may not require lubrication prior to service. The manufacturer's recommendations should be followed in these cases.


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Pulsation Effects

R.J. McKee and C.R. Sparks (Southwest Research Institute), Metering Research Facility Program: Pulsation Effects on Gas Turbine Meters, topical report to Gas Research Institute, Report No. GRI-92-0220, Feb. 1992.

R.J. McKee (Southwest Research Institute), Metering Research Facility Program: Detection of Pulsation Effects on Gas Turbine Meters, topical report to Gas Research Institute, Report No. GRI-94/0460, Dec. 1994.

Installation Effocts

J.T. Park and RJ. McKee (Southwest Research Institute), Metering Research Facility Installation Effects on 4-inch (I 02mm) Gas Turbine Meters, topical report to Gas Research Institute, Report No. GRI-94/0461, Dec. 1994.

Other Rekrences

A.G.A. Gas Measurement Manual, "Gas Turbine Metering - Part No.4," Operating Section Report, American Gas Association: Arlington, Virginia; Catalog No. XQ0684, 1985.

ANSI/ASME MFC-4M, "Measurement of Gas Flow by Turbine Meters," American Society of Mechanical Engineers: New York; 1986.

ANSJ/ISA RP31.1, "Installation and Calibration of Turbine Meters," Recommended Practice, Instrument Society of America: Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 1977.

ISO 9951, "Measurement of Gas Flow in Closed Conduits - Turbine Meters," first edition, International Organization for Standardization: Geneve, Switzerland, 1993(E).

OIML Recommendation No. 32, "Rotary Piston Gas Meters and Turbine Gas Meters," Organization of Legal Metrology: The Netherlands, 1989.