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Analysis of viscosity effect on turbine owmeter performance based

on experiments and CFD simulations


Suna Guo
a,b
, Lijun Sun
a,b,n
, Tao Zhang
a,b
, Wenliang Yang
a,b
, Zhen Yang
a,b
a
School of Electrical Engineering & Automation, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
b
Tianjin Key Laboratory of Process Measurement and Control, Tianjin 300072, China
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 27 May 2012
Received in revised form
17 April 2013
Accepted 30 July 2013
Available online 20 August 2013
Keywords:
Flow measurement
Turbine owmeter
Viscosity effect
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
simulation
a b s t r a c t
Viscosity effect is one important factor that affects the performance of turbine owmeter. The uid
dynamics mechanism of the viscosity effect on turbine owmeter performance is still not fully
understood. In this study, the curves of meter factor and linearity error of the turbine owmeter
changing with uid viscosity variations were obtained from multi-viscosity experiments (the viscosity
range covered is 1.010
6
m
2
/s112 10
6
m
2
/s). The results indicate that the average meter factor of
turbine owmeter decreases with viscosity increases, while the linearity error increases. Furthermore,
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation was carried out to analyze three-dimensional internal
ow elds of turbine owmeter. It was demonstrated that viscosity changes lead to changes of the wake
ow behind the upstream ow conditioner blade and the ow velocity prole before uid entering
turbine rotor blade, which affect the distribution of pressure on the rotor blades, so impact the turbine
owmeter performance.
Crown Copyright & 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The turbine owmeter is a very important kind of velocity type
owmeters. It is widely used in industrial process control, oil and
gas trade and other elds due to its high accuracy, good repeat-
ability, wide range ability and other advantages.
The viscosity of uid is one of the factors that affect the
performance of turbine owmeter. The linear range of turbine
owmeter progressively decrease when viscosity is above 1 cSt, and
virtually disappeared between 50 cSt and 100 cSt [1]. Although lots of
effort has been made, the uid dynamics mechanism of the viscosity
effect on turbine owmeter performance is still not fully understood.
Lee and Henning [2] held that any friction torque that is a
function of the viscosity affects the magnitude of turbine ow-
meter linearity. Barry [3] pointed out that the viscous shear force
on the turbine rotor and the viscous friction force in bearings
increase with the increase of uid viscosity, and slow down the
turn speed of rotor, while the ow velocity prole change make
the rotor accelerate. Salami [4] showed that uid viscosity affects
turbine owmeter performance because it affects the velocity of
generating swirl before uid enter the rotor, and it also affects the
axial ow velocity distribution of uid. Blows [5] thought that
Reynolds number change induced by the viscosity change, at the
same ow rate, causes the variation of ow velocity prole in
annular channel in front of the rotor, following the change of the
turn speed of the rotor, and then the meter factor. Fakouhi [6] and
Tan [7] demonstrated that increasing viscosity increases the
resistance to ow in the blade tip clearance, and reduces the ow
through the tip clearance, as a result of this, increases the ow
through the blades, and increases the meter factor.
Some phenomena in the experiment process can be explained
by information extracted from the ow elds in the turbine ow
sensor [810]. The investigations [11,12] have shown that the
results obtained from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simu-
lation are close to that from experiment, and turbine owmeter
performances can be predicted.
The Kq
v
curves of a turbine owmeter at different uid viscosity
points were obtained in this study, based on multi-viscosity experi-
ments. The variation of its linearity error according to viscosity
change was also obtained. CFD simulations were carried out to
analyze three-dimensional ow elds in the turbine ow sensor.
Fluid dynamics mechanism of uid viscosity change impacting
turbine owmeter performance was analyzed based on ow elds.
This work makes a foundation for reducing the sensitivity of turbine
owmeter to viscosity changes.
2. Experiments
2.1. Structure parameters of tested turbine owmeter
The tested prototype is LWGY (liquid turbine owmeter indi-
cated by the rst letter combinations of Hanyu Pinyin) turbine
owmeter with diameter 10 mm made by Tianda Taihe CO., LTD.
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/owmeasinst
Flow Measurement and Instrumentation
0955-5986/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright & 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.owmeasinst.2013.07.016
n
Corresponding author at: School of Electrical Engineering & Automation, Tianjin
University, Tianjin 300072, China. Tel.: 86 13622049756.
E-mail address: sunlijun@tju.edu.cn (L. Sun).
Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252
The structure and main geometrical dimensions of the turbine
ow sensor tested are given in Fig. 1.
2.2. Properties of measured uid
Experimental research was divided into three parts, that is,
water ow experiment, diesel-oil mixture ow experiment, tur-
bine oil ow experiment, limited by the viscosity of measured
uid in the ow facility. The physical properties of measured uid
in the experiments are shown in Table 1.
2.3. Experimental facility
Water ow experiment was carried out on the water ow facility
in Flow Lab. of Tianjin University. The structure of the facility is
shown in Fig. 2(a). Under the pressure of high water tank, water
ows past the tested turbine owmeter, valve, then according to the
state of the diverter ow into the standard vessel, and then ow back
into the water pool through the bottom valve, or back into the pool
directly. The computer controls the quantity of water owing into
the standard vessel, collecting the number of pulse generated
by the tested turbine owmeter when water owing through it.
Nomenclature
A area of rotor blade pressure side [m
2
]
A
driving
parameter that represents the amount of uid in
driving part
A
retarding
parameter that represents the amount of uid in
retarding part
A
i
area of innitesimal element face [m
2
]
C
t
driving torque coefcient
d pipe diameter [m]
E
r
repeatability error
E
L
linearity error
I
i
proportion of driving part
J rotational inertia of the rotational system [kg m
2
]
K meter factor [1/L]
k coverage factor to expanded uncertainty
K
ij
meter factor of each test run [1/L]
K
i
average meter factor of each ow rate [1/L]
K average meter factor of whole ow rate range [1/L]
K
imax
maximum value of K
i
in whole ow rate range [1/L]
K
imin
minimum value of K
i
in whole ow rate range [1/L]
K
s
meter factor from simulation [1/L]
L lead of blades [m]
M
ij
reading of the electric balance [kg]
N
ij
number of pulse
N number of rotor blades
n number of innitesimal elements
P
i
pressure on innitesimal element face of rotor
blade [Pa]
q
v
volume ow rate [L/h]
r
i
radius corresponding to the center of innitesimal
element [m]
S
i
sample standard deviation of the meter factor at the
ow velocity point i
T
dr
driving torque [N m]
T
b
journal bearing retarding torque [N m]
T
h
hub retarding torque due to uid drag [N m]
T
m
retarding torque due to mechanical friction in journal
bearing and attractive force of magnetoelectricity
detector [N m]
T
t
blade tip clearance drag torque [N m]
T
w
both hub disks retarding torque due to uid drag
[N m]
v instantaneous ow velocity at any point of the ow
eld [m/s]
v average ow velocity of the upstream straight pipe
entrance [m/s]
v relative velocity
x
max
parameter represents the physical quantity at high
ow rate
x
min
parameter represents the physical quantity at low
ow rate
position of tested point [1]

i
angle between the innitesimal element and the axial
line of the rotor [1]

m
relative deviation of proportion under different ow
velocities at same viscosity

r
relative deviation of the physical quantity at high ow
rate from that at low ow rate
uid density [kg/m
3
]
kinetic viscosity of uid [m
2
/s]
turn speed [rad/s]
Downstream Straight Pipe:
Pipe diameter: 10mm
Pipe length: 10D
Upstream Flow Conditioner;
Blade length: 25mm
Blade number: 3
Blade thickness: 0.8mm
Downstream Flow Conditioner:
Blade length: 21mm
Blade number: 3
Blade thickness: 0.8mm
Upstream Straight Pipe:
Pipe diameter: 10mm
Pipe length: 5D
Rotor:
Blade number: 3
Blade axial length: 2.5mm
Blade normal thickness: 0.5mm
Blade lead: 32mm
Tip radius: 4.8mm
Hub radius: 2mm
Shaft radius: 0.5mm
Shaft axial length: 9mm
Fig. 1. The rotor and the internal structure of turbine owmeter.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 43
The quantity of water ow past tested turbine owmeter is weighed
by the electric balance. The valve is used to regulate the water ow
rate in the pipeline. The calculation process of expanded uncertainty of
water ow facility based on static weighing method is as following:

Combined standard uncertainty of diverter: u(d)0.0103%;

Combined standard uncertainty of electric balance: u(e)


0.0106%;

Combined standard uncertainty of timer: u(t)0.015%;

Relative uncertainty of standard weights: u(w)0.011%;

Combined standard uncertainty:


u

u
2
du
2
e u
2
tu
2
w
p
0:0238%;

Expanded uncertainty: Uuk0.0476% (k2).


Dieseloil mixture ow experiment was carried out on a vis-
cosity variable oil ow facility in Flow Lab. of Tianjin University.
The structure of the facility is shown in Fig. 2(b). The temperature is
adjusted to change the viscosity of the oil. The feedback control
system which controls the temperature of the oil within the tank is
made up of the DY2000 series intelligent controller, the heater in the
tank, and temperature sensor. The control loop which includes
pressure sensor and frequency converter controls the ow rate in
the pipeline by regulating the turn speed of the pump motor. The
calculation process of expanded uncertainty of viscosity variable oil
ow facility based on static weighing method is as following:

Combined standard uncertainty of diverter: u(d)0.0325%;

Combined standard uncertainty of electric balance: u(e)0.0162%;

Combined standard uncertainty of timer: u(t)0.005%;

Relative uncertainty of standard weights: u(w)0.0065%;

Uncertainty that brought by the temperature control system:


u(r)0.0046%;

Combined standard uncertainty:


u

u
2
du
2
eu
2
tu
2
wu
2
r
p
0:0375%;

Expanded uncertainty: Uuk0.075% (k2).


Turbine oil ow experiment was carried out on the viscosity
variable calibration facility in Shanghai Sinoto Instrument Co., Ltd.
The master meter method was utilized during the experiment. The
master meter was oval gear volume owmeter, whose accuracy is
0.5% based plants with ow temperatures from 10 1C to 120 1C,
kinematic viscosity from 5.0 10
6
m
2
/s to 1.010
3
m
2
/s and
ow rate between 0.15 m/h and 6.4 m/h. The calculation process
of expanded uncertainty of facility is as following:

Uncertainty of master meter: u(m)0.5%;

Combined standard uncertainty of timer: u(t)0.005%;

Uncertainty that brought by the temperature control system:


u(r)0.005%;

Uncertainty of data-collection process: u(c)0.05%;

Combined standard uncertainty:


u

u
2
mu
2
tu
2
r u
2
c
p
0:503%;

Expanded uncertainty: Uuk1.006% (k2).


2.4. Data processing
Flow rates 0.2 m
3
/h, 0.3 m
3
/h, 0.48 m
3
/h, 0.84 m
3
/h and 1.2 m
3
/
h were selected for DN10 turbine owmeter test, in the ow rate
range of 0.2 m
3
/h1.2 m
3
/h. Each ow rate was tested three times.
The meter factor K of a turbine owmeter is dened as a pulse
generated by a blade rotation in contact with a pick-up coil. Under
ideal condition when there is no retarding torques, it is an
approximate constant. However, the ideal condition does not exist
in the practical application, and the meter factor K always changes
with volume owrate q
v
. In order to understand the actual work-
ing performance, the Kq
v
curve of a turbine owmeter is obta-
ined from factory calibration. The linearity error of Kq
v
curve, is
Table 1
Physical properties of the measured uid in each part of the experiment.
Fluid Temperature (1C) Kinematic viscosity (10
6
m
2
/s) Density (kg/m
3
) Dynamic viscosity (10
3
kg/m s)
Water 20 1.0 998.2 1.0
Dieseloil mixture 17 31.6 896.1 28.4
27 20.4 890.3 18.2
37 12.9 884.5 11.4
47 9.1 878.7 8.0
Turbine oil 13.9 112 843.7 94.8
30 49.2 832.9 41.0
36 37.9 828.9 31.4
47 24.7 821.6 20.3
Standard
Vessel
Water Pool
T P
Diverter
Turbine Meter
For Test
Computer
Balance and Weight Indicator Water Pump
High
Water
Tank
Valve
Bottom valve
Bottom Valve
Standard
Vessel
Oil Tank
T P
Diverter
Turbine Meter
For Test
Computer
Balance and Weight Indicator
Oil Pump
T
Intelligent
Controller
Frequency
Converter
Vale
Fig. 2. (a) Structure of water ow standard facility, and (b) Structure of viscosity
variable oil ow experiment facility.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 44
dened as the closeness of a curve that approximates to a straight
line throughout measurement range. It is an important index of
evaluating the turbine owmeter performance.
The meter factor of each test run was
K
ij

N
ij
M
ij
=
i 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; j 1; 2; 3 1
where N
ij
is the number of pulse; M
ij
is the reading of the electric
balance; is the density of the uid; i is ow rate tested; j is the
test number of every ow rate. The average meter factor of this
ow rate was
K
i

1
3

3
j 1
K
ij
2
The average meter factor of turbine owmeter in whole ow rate
range K, the linearity error E
L
and the repeatability error E
r
were
calculated as follows.
K
1
2
K
imax
K
imin
3
E
L

K
imax
K
K
100% 4
E
r

S
i
K
i
100% 5
2.5. Results and analysis
The results of experiments were shown in Table 2. Kq
v
curves
of turbine owmeter at different viscosities were shown in Fig. 3.
It was shown by the curves that, the meter factor increases with
ow rate increases, when uid viscosity is higher (more than
24.710
6
m
2
/s), under the same viscosity condition. The larger
the uid viscosity is, the more obvious this trend is. The meter
factor gradually rises with ow rate increase in the low ow rate
section, when viscosity is relatively lower (less than 12.9
10
6
m
2
/s). However, the meter factor tends to be stable and close
to a constant, as ow rate increases to a certain point. The meter
factor presents decline trend, as the ow rate continues to
increase.
The meter factor has a decreasing trend with viscosity increase, in
comparison of low ow rate section under different uid viscosity.
The meter factors of minimum ow rate at the highest viscosity
(11210
6
m
2
/s) and the lowest viscosity (1.010
6
m
2
/s) are 1165.0
(1/L) and 1643.5(1/L), respectively, and the relative variation of these
two meter factors is 29.11%. As ow rate increases, the difference of
meter factor induced by the viscosity change decreases gradually. The
relative deviation of the meter factor is 16.06% between the highest
and the lowest viscosity at the maximum ow rate.
The average meter factors K at different viscosities are differ-
ent. The curve of the average meter factor and the uid kinematic
viscosity could be gotten, as shown in Fig. 4. It is indicated that the
average meter factor decreases gradually with viscosity increase in
the whole viscosity range.
It was demonstrated by the data that, the linearity error would
rise as uid viscosity increase for the same turbine owmeter. The
curve of the linearity error and the uid kinematic viscosity is
shown in Fig. 5.
3. CFD simulations of ow elds and analysis
3.1. Three-dimensional simulation model of the turbine owmeter
The CFD simulation software package FLUENT was adopted to
study the three-dimensional internal ow elds of DN10 turbine
Table 2
Experimental data of turbine owmeter.
Temperature (1C) Kinematic viscosity (10
6
m
2
/s)
K (1/L)
E
L
(%)
Water ow experiment 20 1.0 1651.0 0.5
Dieseloil mixture ow experiment 17 31.6 1590.3 4.5
27 20.4 1612.8 3.0
37 12.9 1650.7 2.2
47 9.1 1623.2 1.7
Turbine oil ow experiment 13.9 112 1316.8 11.5
30 49.2 1398.8 10.2
36 37.9 1571.7 6.3
47 24.7 1610.3 3.8
Fig. 3. Kq
v
curves of turbine owmeter at different viscosities.
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120
1300
1350
1400
1450
1500
1550
1600
1650
A
v
e
r
a
g
e

M
e
t
e
r

F
a
c
t
o
r

o
f

T
u
r
b
i
n
e
F
l
o
w
m
e
t
e
r

i
n

W
h
o
l
e

F
l
o
w

R
a
t
e

R
a
n
g
e

(
1
/
L
)
Kinematic Viscosity(10
-6
m
2
/s)
Meter Factor
Fitting Curve
Fig. 4. Viscosity effect on average meter factor of turbine owmeter.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 45
owmeter, under the same conditions as the experiment men-
tioned above, in order to analyze the uid dynamics mechanism of
turbine owmeter performance affected by viscosity.
The three-dimensional simulation model of the DN10 turbine
owmeter was built using GAMBIT software, according to the
actual structure of the turbine owmeter, as shown in Fig. 1. 5D
and 10D length straight pipes were added at the upstream and the
downstream of the sensor, respectively, for making the ow
regimes at the inlet and the outlet close to fully developed
turbulence.
3.2. Model mashed
The model was divided into seven parts when meshed. Struc-
tured grids were used at upstream straight pipe, downstream
straight pipe, upstream ow conditioner, downstream ow con-
ditioner which have relatively regular shape. The growth function
was used to generate the volume mesh in upstream straight pipe
and downstream straight pipe which have the maximum aspect-
ratio 2, for reducing the number of cells but not affecting the
quality of the grid. Unstructured grids were used at the region
between straight pipe and ow conditioner, the region between
ow conditioner and rotor, and the region of rotor which have
complicate structures.
The appropriate number of grids was determined based on
capturing the ow eld details, predicting the performance of
turbine owmeter correctly and saving computer resources appro-
priately. Three different grids numbers were selected to simulate
the internal ow eld of turbine owmeter when the medium was
water at 20 1C in this study. The message of grids and simulation
results are shown in Table 3. The number 1.4 million is chosen due
to predicting the performance of turbine owmeter closer to
experimental data and saving more computer resources, under
the condition that the oweld details can be captured using all of
the three methods. There are 5 grids in 0.5 mm thickness of blade
at the leading edge and the trailing edge and the tip of blade,
2 grids in the blade tip clearance where the height is 0.2 mm.
3.3. Method for simulation
The entirely computational domain was divided into three
parts, i.e. the region of upstream straight pipe and upstream ow
conditioner, the region of rotor, the region of downstream straight
pipe and downstream ow conditioner. The motion type in the
region of rotor was set to the Moving Reference Frame (MRF), and
the two remaining regions were set to stationary. The rotational
region and stationary regions are connected with two pairs of
interface surfaces.
Pressure based steady solver was chosen. Linear pressurestrain
of the Reynolds stress turbulence model and standard wall functions
were chosen when the uid was water. When uid viscosity was
higher, Low-Re Stress-Omega in Reynolds stress turbulence model
was chosen by virtue of the small Reynolds number.
Using FLUENT software to simulate the internal ow elds of
the owmeter was based on the torque balance equation, i.e. the
angular acceleration of rotor is zero, when the turbine owmeter
was in the steady state. The torque balance equation is as follow
T
dr
T
b
T
h
T
m
T
t
T
w
J
d
dt
0 6
where T
dr
is the rotor driving torque; T
b
is journal bearing
retarding torque; T
h
is rotor hub retarding torque due to uid
drag; T
m
is retarding torque due to mechanical friction in journal
bearing and attractive force of magnetoelectricity detector; T
t
is
the blade tip clearance drag torque; T
w
both hub disks retarding
torque due to uid drag; J is rotational inertia of the rotational
system; is turn speed of the rotor.
Based on Eq. (6), there should be a constant speed corre-
sponding to a given inlet ow velocity. The driving torque on rotor
will change with the change of inlet ow velocity, and the torque
balance will be broken. should be adjusted to satisfy the torque
balance equation. If was set unreasonable, the total torque on
the rotor was not zero. During the process of numerical simula-
tion, the value of was constantly adjusted according to the value
of the total torque on the rotor monitored, before the torques on
rotor achieve balance. It was considered to achieve torque balance
when total torque on the rotor less than 10
8
N m, and the
corresponding value was an appropriate turn speed of the rotor.
The meter factor from simulation K
s
can be calculated.
K
s

5:4
q
v
7
3.4. Analysis of uid dynamics mechanism of viscosity effect
The viscosity effect on turbine owmeter performance is
analyzed in two aspects, i.e. the effect of upstream ow condi-
tioner wake ow and the force distribution on the rotor blades
caused by the ow velocity prole changes.
3.4.1. Effect of upstream ow conditioner wake ow
The ow elds of the turbine owmeter at different viscosity
and different ow rates were studied, for analyzing the uid
dynamics mechanism of viscosity effect. However, the kinematic
viscosity of 112 10
6
m
2
/s, 31.610
6
m
2
/s and 1.010
6
m
2
/s
were chosen, and the ow elds at the maximum ow rate and
the minimum ow rate were enumerated in the paper, due to
space limitation. The ow velocity was normalized, in order to
compare the difference of ow velocity distributions between
maximum and minimum ow rate, and clearly analyze the effect
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
L
i
n
e
a
r
i
t
y

E
r
r
o
r

(
%
)
Kinematic Viscosity(10
-6
m
2
/s)
Linearity Error
Fitting Curve
Fig. 5. Viscosity effect on linearity error of turbine owmeter.
Table 3
The inuence of different grids number on prediction results.
Case Minimum size
(mm)
Total number
(million)
Meter factor
K
s
(1/L)
Linearity
error E
L
(%)
1 0.18 0.9 1642.5 1.6
2 0.15 1.4 1652.8 1.4
3 0.12 2.0 1654.9 1.5
Experimental
data
1651.0 0.5
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 46
of wake ow on the meter factor.
v
v
v
8
where v is the instantaneous ow velocity at any point of the ow
eld, v is the average ow velocity at the cross-section of upstream
straight pipe entrance.
Flow velocity distributions on the cylindrical surface (surface-1
in Fig. 6) which is symmetry about the x-axis and with radius
4 mm and on the plane (plane-1 in Fig. 6) at the center of rotor
were analyzed. As shown in Figs. 7 and 8, there is wake ow
behind the upstream ow conditioner blades which divides the
ow region between two rotor blades into two parts distinctly. The
former section on the pressure side of rotor blade has an impact of
driving the rotor, while the latter part on the suction side of the
blade has an impact retarding the rotor.
The relative velocity information along Circumference-1 (the
position is shown in Fig. 8) was extracted from ow eld and the
curve of velocity magnitude with position is shown in Fig. 9.
Between two parts ow divided by the wake ow of upstream
ow conditioner, if the part acting on the pressure side of blade
take relatively large proportion and the other part take relatively
small proportion, then the rotor get larger driving force and
smaller drag force, and have larger turn speed, so the meter factor
is larger, and vice versa.
The proportion of driving part was
I
i

A
idriving
A
iretarding
A
idriving
100% i 1; 2; ; 6 9
where A
idriving
, A
iretarding
are parameters that respectively repre-
sent the amount of uid in driving part and retarding part, and
were calculated by integrating the relative velocity in the corre-
sponding region; i is the sequence number of conditions analyzed.
The relative deviation of proportion under different ow
velocities at same viscosity was

m

I
2n
I
2n1
I
2n
I
2n1
100% m1; 2; 3; n 1; 2; 3 10
where m is the sequence number of viscosity analyzed; n is natural
numbers; 2n is the sequence number corresponding to the
maximum ow rate; 2n1 is the sequence number corresponding
to the minimum ow rate.
Results are presented in Table 4.
Line-1
Surface-1
Line-2
Line-3
Line-4
Plane-1
Line-5
Fig. 6. Positions of investigated objects.
Fig. 7. The distribution of relative velocity v around the rotor blades. (a) v11210
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s, (b) v11210
6
m
2
/s, v4.2 m/s, (c) v31.610
6
m
2
/s,
v0.7 m/s, (d) v36.610
6
m
2
/s, v4.2 m/s, (e) v1.010
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s and (f) v1.010
6
m
2
/s, v3.9 m/s.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 47
It can be found from Table 4 that, to the identical viscosity, the
proportion of ow driving the rotor between the blades rises when
ow velocity increases, resulting in rotor turn speed increase and
meter factor growth. Therefore, for a certain kind of uid, the meter
factor increases with ow rate increases.
To the identical ow rate at different viscosities, the inuence
of wake ow is gradually increases accompanying the increase of
uid kinematic viscosity, the proportion of the ow driving
the rotor between the blades gradually decreases, causing the
decline of rotor turn speed and the meter factor. Therefore, for
different uid viscosity, the meter factor decreases with viscosity
increases.
The difference of wake ow effect between maximum and
minimum ow rate is different with viscosity change. From
Table 4, it can be observed that the relative deviation of proportion
of driving part under different ow velocities is larger at high
viscosity. That is, when viscosity is high, the difference between
meter factors at maximum and minimum ow rate is large; as
viscosity is low, the difference is relatively small. Therefore, the
higher the viscosity of the uid is, the larger linearity error is, and
vice verse.
The structure of upstream ow conditioner could be changed
based on the analysis above, such as reducing blades thickness and
length, so that the uid ow will be fully developed after the
conditioner blades, the effect of their wake ow on the rotor turn
speed will be reduced.
3.4.2. Flow velocity prole effect on force distribution at rotor blade
Separated ow appears near the leading edge when the uid
ows through the blades, due to the shape of leading edge of
blades and the rotation of the rotor, as shown in Fig. 10. Therefore,
there is a low pressure region appearing in front of the blades. It
extends gradually to the center of blades along the direction of
ow, as shown in Fig. 11. When the owmeter is running at
different viscosity or different ow rate, its inlet velocity prole is
changing, and the leading edge separation and reattachment ows
must change accordingly [13].
Fig. 8. Flow velocity distribution between the rotor blades. (a) v11210
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s, (b) v112 10
6
m
2
/s, v4.2 m/s (c) v31.610
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s,
(d) v36.610
6
m
2
/s, v4.2 m/s, (e) v1.010
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s and (f) v1.010
6
m
2
/s, v3.9 m/s.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 48
Flow velocity proles of the entrance of the rotor blades (the
position was Line-4 shown in Fig. 6) at the maximum and the
minimum ow rate at the viscosity of 1.010
6
m
2
/s and
11210
6
m
2
/s were shown in Fig. 12(d), and the force on the
rotor blades generated by the uid will change with the variation
of ow velocity prole at the entrance of the rotor blades, as
shown in Fig. 13. From Fig. 13, it can be concluded that, to the same
viscosity, the change is large as the ow rate is high, as shown in
Fig. 13(b) and (d), and vice versa, as shown in Fig. 13(a) and (c).
The size of low pressure region appearing in front of the blades
is also affected by the uid viscosity. With high uid viscosity and
low ow rate, the uid ow near the blade is in laminar state and
ows through the blades close to the wall of them, so there is no
low pressure area on the forepart of the blades, as show in Fig. 13
(a). Due to the existence of shear stress force, the drag force on
uid ow is larger, so the impact force on the blades is getting
smaller and smaller as the uid ow downstream, and large area
of low pressure region exist near the tail of blades, as shown in
Fig. 13(a), which cause the driving torque on rotor smaller, the
angular velocity smaller and the meter factor of turbine owmeter
smaller. With the ow rate increase, the size of low pressure area
reduces, while the high pressure area moves up to the blade tip,
resulting in the increase of the driving torque, the angular velocity
of rotor and the meter factor of turbine owmeter.
Since viscous friction is small, there is no low pressure region
near the tail on the blades when viscosity is low. With ow rate
increasing, the low pressure region on the forepart of blades
moves downstream, the high pressure area in the blade will move
toward the tail and toward the tip of the blades, resulting in the
increase of the driving torque, the angular velocity of the rotor and
the meter factor of turbine owmeter.
Five different locations were compared at the maximum and
the minimum ow rate at the viscosity of 1.010
6
m
2
/s and
11210
6
m
2
/s, respectively. The ve locations (Line-1Line-5
shown in Fig. 6) are at the upstream straight pipe where the ow
regime is close to fully developed turbulence, the central of the
upstream ow conditioner, the axial central of the gap between
the upstream ow conditioner and the rotor, the entrance of the
rotor blades, the axial central position of the rotor. As shown in
Fig. 12, both the uid viscosity and the ow rate affect the ow
velocity prole. To the same viscosity, the corresponding ow
velocity prole change with the average ow velocity. Under the
same uid condition, the velocity proles are not the same at
different locations, due to the internal structure of turbine ow-
meter change with location. So, changing the structure of the
inside wall of the turbine owmeter shell could control the ow
velocity prole of the uid in front of the rotor, and decrease the
impact of the pressure distribution on turbine owmeter perfor-
mance due to viscosity change.
From the results of discussion above, it was concluded that
both the upstream ow conditioner wake ow and the ow
velocity prole affect the value of the driving torque on the rotor.
It was veried quanticationally through the data extracted from
the ow elds, as shown in Table 5.
The driving torque T
dr
on the rotor was
T
dr
N
n
i
P
i
A
i
r
i
cos
i
N
n
i
P
i
A
i
r
i
cos arctg
2r
i
L

The former
section has
an impact on
the pressure
side
0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
v=0.7 m/s
v=4.2 m/s
v
'
( )
0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360
( )
0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360
( )
The latter
part hasan
impact on
the suction
side
The centre of
wake flow
The position
of rotor blade
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
v=0.7 m/s
v=4.2 m/s
'
v
The former
section has
an impact on
the pressure
side
The latter
part hasan
impact on
the suction
side
The centre of
wake flow
The position
of rotor blade
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
v=0.7 m/s
v=3.9 m/s
v
'
The former section
hasan impact on
the pressure side
The latter part has
an impact on the
suction side
The centre of
wake flow
The position
of rotor blade
Fig. 9. Relative velocity information along Circumference-1. (a) v11210
6
m
2
/s,
(b) v31.610
6
m
2
/s and (c) v1.010
6
m
2
/s,
Table 4
The analysis data of upstream ow conditioner wake ow effect.
i Viscosity (m
2
/s) Velocity (m/s) A
retarding
A
driving
I
i
(%) m (%)
1 1 0.7 85.5 58.9 40.8 2.5
2 1 3.9 78.8 59.1 42.9
3 31.6 0.7 112.4 57.9 34 3.5
4 31.6 4.2 98.2 56.5 36.5
5 112 0.7 129.5 55.8 30.1 8.1
6 112 4.2 110.7 60.7 35.4
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 49
N
n
i
P
i
A
i
r
i

L

4
2
r
i
2
L
2
q 11
where P
i
is the pressure on innitesimal element face of rotor
blade; A
i
is the area of innitesimal element face; r
i
is the radius
corresponding to the center of innitesimal element;
i
is the
angle between the innitesimal element and the axial line of the
rotor; L is the lead of blades; N is the number of rotor blades; n is
the number of innitesimal elements.
The driving torque coefcient C
t
was calculated through
following equation.
C
t

T
dr
1=2v
2
Ad
12
where v is the average velocity of the upstream straight pipe
entrance; is the density of uid; A is the area of rotor blade
pressure side; d is the pipe diameter.
The relative deviation is

r

x
max
x
min
x
max
x
min
100% 13
where x
max
represents the physical quantity at high ow rate; x
min
represents the physical quantity at low ow rate.
As shown in Table 5, the driving torque T
dr
on the rotor is
affected by uid viscosity and ow rate: to different kind uid, the
driving torque rises with viscosity decreases; to the same kind
uid, the driving torque rises with ow rate increases; the relative
Fig. 10. The velocity vectors in the ow separation region near the leading edge of the blade.
Fig. 11. The relative pressure contours distribution around the rotor blades.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 50
deviation between T
dr
at high viscosity is larger than that at low
viscosity.
4. Conclusions and advices
Through multi-viscosity experiment of turbine owmeter, CFD
simulation of three-dimensional ow elds in the turbine ow
sensor, the analysis of ow elds, several conclusions were gotten
as follows.
(1) The average meter factor of the turbine owmeter decreases as
the uid viscosity increase, while the linearity error rises with
the increase of viscosity. When the uid kinematic viscosity
increases from 1.010
6
m
2
/s to 49.310
6
m
2
/s, the average
meter factor decreases from 1651.0 (1/L) to 1398.8 (1/L),
meanwhile, the linearity error increases from 0.45% to 10.24%.
(2) The wake ow of upstream ow conditioner affects the ow
velocity distribution between turbine rotor blades which
changes the performance of the turbine owmeter. As uid
viscosity increases, the effect of the wake ow of upstream
ow conditioner becomes larger.
(3) The change of the uid viscosity impacts the ow velocity
prole of uid entering the rotor blades, which affects the
pressure distribution on the rotor blades and then the rotor
turn speed. The performance of the turbine owmeter is
affected as the uid viscosity changes the ow velocity prole
in front of the rotor.
Based on the research and analysis above, for the optimization
of the structure of the turbine owmeter to reduce the sensitivity
of the turbine owmeter to the uid viscosity change, following
advices were given:
(1) Reduce the impact of the wake ow behind upstream ow
conditioner. Change the structure of the upstream ow con-
ditioner, such as reducing blades thickness and length, so that
the uid ow will be fully developed after the conditioner
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
v
/
v
m
a
x
)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
v
/
v
m
a
x
)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
v
/
v
m
a
x
)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
v
/
v
m
a
x
)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
v
/
v
m
a
x
)
r/D
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
r/D
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
r/D
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
r/D
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
r/D
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
Fig. 12. Flow velocity proles at different locations of turbine owmeter. (a) Line-1, (b) Line-2, (c) Line-3, (d) Line-4 and (e) Line-5.
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 51
blades, the effect of its wake ow on the rotor turn speed will
be reduced.
(2) Control the ow velocity prole of the uid in front of the
rotor, by changing the structure of the inside wall of the
turbine owmeter shell, such as changing pipeline diameter,
changing roughness of pipeline's internal wall or changing the
shape of rotor blade, to decrease the impact of the pressure
distribution on turbine owmeter performance due to viscos-
ity change.
References
[1] Watson GA, Furness RA. Development and application of the turbine meter.
Proc. Transducer 77 Conf. Flow Measurement Session (June 1977).
[2] Lee WF, Henning ZK. A study of viscosity effect and its compensation on
turbine-type owmeters. Transactions of ASME Journal of Basic Engineering
1960:71728.
[3] Barry AE. Turbine meters for liquid measurement. Mechanical Engineering
1983:526.
[4] Salami LA. Analysis of swirl, viscosity and temperature effects on turbine
owmeters. Transactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control 1985;7
(4):183202.
[5] Blows LG. Towards a better turbine owmeter in international conference on
the advance in ow measurement techniques, Warwick, English. BHRA Fluid
Engineering Craneld, England; 1981. p. 30718.
[6] Fakouhi A. The inuence of viscosity on turbine ow meter calibration curves.
University of Southampton; 1977 ([Ph.D. thesis]).
[7] Tan PAK. Theoretical and experimental studies of turbine owmeter. Depart-
ment of Mechanical Engineering University of Southampton; 1973 ([Ph.D.
thesis]).
[8] Sun LJ. Research on reducing turbine owmeter's sensitivity to viscosity
change. Tianjin University; 2004 ([Ph.D. thesis] (in Chinese).
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owmeter. Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 2008;19(5):2339.
[10] Lavante EV, Thomas H, Schieber WM. Numerical investigation of the ow eld
in a 2-stage turbine owmeter, In: Proceedings of the international conference
on ow measurement; 2001.
[11] Lavante EV, Kettner T and Lazaroski N. Numerical simulation of unsteady
three-dimensional ow elds in a turbine owmeter, In: Proceedings of the
international conference on ow measurement; 2003.
[12] Lavante EV, Banaszak U, Kettner T. Numerical simulation of Reynolds number
effects in a turbine owmeter, In: Proceedings of the international conference
on ow measurement; 2004. p. 575582.
[13] Xu Y. Calculation of the ow around turbine owmeter blades. Flow Measure-
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Fig. 13. The pressure distribution on pressure side of the rotor blades. (a) v11210
6
m
2
/s, v0.7 m/s, (b) v11210
6
m
2
/s, v4.2 m/s, (c) v1.010
6
m
2
/s,
v0.7 m/s and (d) v1.0 10
6
m
2
/s, v3.9 m/s,
Table 5
The data extracted from the ow elds.
Viscosity (10
6
m
2
/s) Flow velocity (m/s) Meter factor from experiment (1/L) Meter factor from CFD simulation (1/L) T
dr
(N m) Ct
1.0 3.9 1654.9 1681.3 2.6E-05 2.5E-02
1.0 0.7 1643.5 1627.5 8.3E-07 2.2E-02
r (%) 68.2 0.4 1.6 93.8 5.3
112 4.2 1438.4 1404.9 1.3E-05 1.2E-02
112 0.7 1163.8 1009.5 2.0E-07 6.7E-03
r (%) 71.1 10.6 16.4 96.8 27.8
S. Guo et al. / Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 34 (2013) 4252 52