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# Fluid mechanics

laboratory
Experiment no.8
Flow meters

Instructor:Sir Mirian

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Petroleum University of technology

General Background
Measurement of flow rates of fluids is of great practical
interest in many applications. An enormous number of
methods have been developed. These range from the very
crude to the extremely sophisticated. You will be introduced
to several methods during this course. At the moment, we
will focus on measurement of flow in a fully enclosed channel
(i.e., in a pipe or a tube). We will illustrate the principles by
using water as the fluid, though the techniques of interest
can also be applied to gases.
You will be introduced to four well-known measurement
devices during this laboratory exercise. Three are
commercial devices, which have been kindly provided by the
Foxboro Company in a “flow loop” which they donated to the
Division of Engineering. The fourth is a venturi tube added to
the flow loop for the purposes of this experiment.
The venturi device is mathematically well-described by the
Bernoulli equation, and the relevant analysis is shown on
p.515 of the text. The drawing on p.515 shows the key
elements of a device that you will actually use. The key
working equation is generally taken to be:
Q = CAT [2 Δp /ρ(1-β4)]1/2
Where Q is the volumetric flow rate, Δp is the measured
pressure difference, ρ, the fluid density, AT the Venturi throat
area, β, a geometry factor (see p.515), and C is the “Venturi
discharge coefficient”, which is a constant, close to unity
which accounts for friction. As you already know from class
lectures, Bernoulli’s equation really only applies along a
single streamline and ignores the effects of viscosity. The
difference between the ideal analysis and the real case is
accounted for by the discharge coefficient, C. You will be
required to determine C as part of this lab exercise.

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The other three flowmeters to be examined in the course of
this experiment are the magnetic flow meter, the Coriolis
mass flow meter and the orifice plate. All of these are
standard pieces of flow measuring equipment in common
commercial use throughout the world. Our instruments are
those currently produced by The Foxboro Company for its
customers.
The orifice meter is the device most closely related to the
venturi device, and relates pressure drop across a small hole
to the flow rate. However, in contrast to the Venturi
flowmeter, the orifice meter is not easily described by a
simple relationship; it is generally necessary to calibrate its
behavior using known flow rates. The orifice meter is actually
preferred in practice to the venturi, because of its relatively
simple and robust design and limited space requirements.
When you perform the experiment, note the space required
for the venturi compared with that for the orifice meter. The
behavior of a thin-plate orifice is described on pages 513-514
of the text. You can find the relevant working equations and
diagrams there. In this experiment, we will examine the
behavior of the commercial orifice meter by working
backwards to determine some key performance parameters.
The magnetic flowmeter requires that the fluid be an
electrical conductor, and operates on the principle
EN 81 Fluid Mechanics Fall, 2002
that, as the fluid moves through a
magnetic field, it induces a voltage which
can be sensed. The flow meter used in
this lab is a Foxboro model IMT25, and is
designed to operate in a flowrate range of
0 to 150 gallons per minute (gpm). The
voltage is proportional to the velocity of
the flowing fluid. Even tap water, such as
we are using in this experiment, is
sufficiently conductive, given a sensitive
meter such as this.
The last mass flowmeter is of a Coriolis
type, and is Foxboro’s model CFT10. Its
principal of operation is as follows: The

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flow is forced to move in a circle so that it
induces a Coriolis force. That force, in turn
slightly modifies the natural vibration
frequency of the flow tube and this
frequency shift is sensed and converted to
a flow rate. Unlike the previous methods
(which measure volume flow rates), this
flow meter is a true mass flow meter.

The Apparatus
The flow-loop consists of a complex
arrangement of pumps, pipes (1/2 inch
diameter), meters and valves, allowing a
variety of flow experiments. The currently
available flowrate range will be from
about 0.5 to 6 gpm and it will be
controlled by the pneumatic bronze valve.
The position of the bronze valve [100%
open smoothly down to 10% open] is
controlled by the operator who works on
PC with Fox View software. During the
experiment the data will be saved on hard
drive continuously. Please bring with you
a floppy disk when you arrive to the Lab
session. Since the operation of the flow
loop requires some practice, the teaching
assistants will handle the different
controls for you.
When you first arrive, the TA’s will guide
you through the flow loop, indicating the
layout and position of all the relevant
elements of the device. As you do this
initial walk-through of the equipment,
take note of both the flowmeters that will
be of interest in the experiment and the
other equipment that you will not be
directly using during the lab. Note its
appearance, its size and do not be afraid
to ask questions. Part of this exercise is

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intended to familiarize you with real items
of process equipment. Some of you may
experiments, in later courses.
Take special note at this stage of where
the readouts are for each measurements
that you will need to make. Also take note
of the dimensional units in which values
are being displayed.

Procedure
The procedure is straightforward. The TA
will start the experiment by setting a
particular control valve to a particular
setting on PC [FoxView software]
expressed as a percentage of the fully-
opened position. The flow rate will change
according to the fractional opening of the
valve. It takes about few minutes to get
all readings to stabilize. Make sure that all
the air bubbles have left the Venturi
before moving to a next flow regime. This
will be your flow regime one. Repeat for
several valve positions, ranging from
100% open down to 10% open in steps of
approximately 10%. Record at least 8
different flow regimes. The order of the
flow regimes recorded is not important.
PC will record the flow rates reported by
the mass and magnetic flowmeters as a
function of valve position as well as
pressure drop in Venturi and Orifice
meters.

## Data Analysis and Discussion

1 1. Compare the magnetic and
Coriolis flow meters – are the

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2 2. Plot the flow rates as a function of
the control valve opening. What is
going on here physically? Does the
pump operate at a constant or
variable speed? Constant or variable
volumetric flowrate? Constant or
EN 81 Fluid Mechanics Fall, 2002
1 variable power input? How does the
position of a control valve influence
this? [Hint- think of this in terms of
the pump work calculations
performed in EN 72.]
2 3. Plot the pressure drop across the
orifice plate against the flow rate
squared, and determine the physical
constants for the orifice. A plot of
expected orifice performance, taken
from Foxboro Company literature, is
attached. Which curve appears
closest to the one you have
obtained? What is the diameter and
discharge coefficient of the orifice
currently installed?
3 4. Plot the flow rate measured from
the Venturi to that measured by one
of the Foxboro flow meters. Can you
compute the Venturi coefficient from
this data? How well does the Venturi
perform in comparison with the other
flow meters? What are the sources of
any observed differences?

Final Report

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Sample Calculations:

## Using the equation I, by having the

recorded values for t (time), V (volume)
… we can easily determine the
corresponding value for Q (discharge)…

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The obtained value for each experiment
is as follows:

## Discharge = ΔV/Δt , Q= √(2g *reading /

(A2-2-A1-2)) for example row (1):

## Reading = (125-105)*10.34/760 = 0.27

Q= √(2*9.806*0.27/ ((1.77*10-4)-2 –
(7.92*10-4)-2) =0.42lit/s

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Results:

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5 8

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28 68 2.92 1.37
20 2 6.37 0.31
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