A mass flow meter, also known as inertial flow meter and coriolis flow meter, is a device that measures

how much fluid is flowing through a tube. It does not measure the volume of the fluid passing through the tube; it measures the amount of mass flowing through the device. Volumetric flow metering is proportional to mass flow rate only when the density of the fluid is constant. If the fluid has varying density, or contains bubbles, then the volume flow rate multiplied by the density is not an accurate measure of the mass flow rate. In a mass flow meter the fluid is contained in a smooth tube, with no moving parts that would need to be cleaned and maintained, and that would impede the flow. Find useful information on other gas mass flow measurement technology, see thermal mass flow meter or mass flow controller. Operating principle There are two basic configurations: the curved tube flow meter and the straight tube flow meter. This article discusses the curved tube design. The animations on the right do not represent an actually existing coriolis flow meter design. The purpose of the animations is to illustrate the operating principle, and to show the connection with rotation. Fluid is being pumped through the mass flow meter. When there is mass flow, the tube twists slightly. The arm through which fluid flows away from the axis of rotation must exert a force on the fluid, to increase its angular momentum, so it bends backwards. The arm through which fluid is pushed back to the axis of rotation must exert a force on the fluid to decrease the fluid's angular momentum again, hence that arm will bend forward. In other words, the inlet arm is lagging behind the overall rotation, and the outlet arm leads the overall rotation.

When no fluid is flowing, the vibration of the two tubes is symmetrical, as shown in the animations.

The animation on the right represents what happens during mass flow. When there is mass flow, there is some twisting of the tubes. The arm through which fluid flows away from the axis of rotation must exert a force on the fluid to increase its angular momentum, so it is lagging behind the overall vibration. The arm through which fluid is pushed back towards the axis of rotation must exert a force on the fluid to decrease the fluid's angular momentum again, hence that arm leads the overall vibration. The inlet arm and the outlet arm vibrate with the same frequency as the overall vibration, but when there is mass flow the two vibrations are out of sync, the inlet arm is behind, the outlet arm is ahead. The two vibrations are shifted in phase with respect to each other, and the degree of phase-shift is a measure for the amount of mass that is flowing through the tubes. [edit] Density and volume measurements

The mass flow of a u-shaped coriolis flow meter is given as: where Ku is the temperature dependent stiffness of the tube, K a shape-dependent factor, d the width, the time lag, the vibration frequency and Iu the inertia of the tube. As the inertia of the tube depend on its contents, knowledge of the fluid density is needed for the calculation of an accurate mass flow rate. If the density changes too often for manual calibration to be sufficient, the coriolis flow meter can be adapted to measure the density as well. The natural vibration frequency of the flow tubes depend on the combined mass of the tube and the fluid contained in it. By setting the tube in motion and measuring the natural frequency, the mass of the fluid contained in the tube can be deduced. Dividing the mass on the known volume of the tube gives us the density of the fluid. Such an instantaneous density measurement in turn allow us to calculate the flow in volume per time, by dividing mass flow with density. [edit] Calibration Both mass flow and density measurements depend on the vibration of the tube. This depends on the rigidity of the tube which in turn depend on its temperature. Calculations must therefore take the temperature of the fluid into account.

How Coriolis Mass Flowmeters Work

in gas/vapor applications. Note that high viscosity fluids increase the pressure drop across the flowmeter. where moving toward the center will cause a person to have to "lean into" the rotation so as to maintain balance. This flowmeter can be applied to sanitary. Straight-tube designs are available to measure some dirty and/or abrasive liquids. Sensors and a Coriolis mass flowmeter transmitter are used to measure the twist and generate a linear flow signal. For liquid flows. Materials of construction are generally limited to stainless steel and Hastelloy C. This effect can be experienced when riding a merry-goround. As related to flowmeters. the "swinging" is generated by vibrating the tube(s) in which the fluid flows. chemical. the measurement is not affected by fluid density changes. make sure that the flowmeter is completely full of liquid. caustic. In addition. . cryogenic. wastewater. the effect can be demonstrated by flowing water in a loop of flexible hose that is "swung" back and forth in front of the body with both hands. The amount of twist is proportional to the mass flow rate of fluid passing through the tube(s). relatively clean. such as water. Many applications for Coriolis mass flowmeters are found in chemical processes where fluids can be corrosive and otherwise difficult to measure. How to Use Coriolis Mass Flowmeters Coriolis mass flowmeters measure the mass flow of liquids. petroleum. Pay special attention to installation because pipe vibration can cause operational problems. Also. acids. pulp and paper. opposite forces are generated and cause the hose to twist.Coriolis mass flowmeters measure the force resulting from the acceleration caused by mass moving toward (or away from) a center of rotation. large pressure drops across the flowmeter and its associated piping can occur. the relative insensitivity to density allows Coriolis mass flowmeters to be applied in applications where the physical properties of the fluid are not well known. Application Cautions for Coriolis Mass Flowmeters If the pressure drop is acceptable. and corrosive liquids and gases/vapors in pipes smaller than 6-12 inches. Because the water is flowing toward and away from the hands. mineral processing. power. Because mass flow is measured. and petrochemical industries. and gases/vapors. operate a Coriolis mass flowmeter in the upper part of its flow range because operation at low flow rates can degrade accuracy. Be particularly careful when using Coriolis mass flowmeters to measure gas/vapor flows because flow rates tend to be low in the flow range (where accuracy is degraded). These flowmeters can also be used in chemical feed systems found in most industries. mining. chemicals. General applications are found in the water. Be especially careful when measuring gas/vapor flow with Coriolis mass flowmeters. In a Coriolis mass flowmeter.

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