Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 63


Petroleum Open Learning

Gas Flow Measurement

Part of the
Petroleum Processing Technology Series


Petroleum Open Learning

Gas Flow Measurement

Part of the
Petroleum Processing Technology Series


Petroleum Open Learning

Designed, Produced and Published by OPITO Ltd., Petroleum Open Learning, Minerva House, Bruntland Road, Portlethen, Aberdeen AB12 4QL

Printed by Astute Print & Design, 44-46 Brechin Road, Forfar, Angus DD8 3JX www.astute.uk.com

OPITO 1993 (rev.2002)

ISBN 1 872041 85 X

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval or information storage system, transmitted in any form or by any
means, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publishers.

Gas Flow Measurements

Petroleum Open Learning

(Part of the Petroleum Processing Technology Series)

As a large part of this subject deals with calculations, you will require to be comfortable with
maths up to about standard grade level.

Visual Cues

Although some of the equations are fairly complex, all relevant data and information is
provided to assist you to solve the problems.

training targets for you to

achieve by the end of the unit

test yourself questions to see

how much you understand

check yourself answers to

let you see if you have been
thinking along the right lines

activities for you to apply your

new knowledge

summaries for you to recap on

the major steps in your progress

All formulae required for calculations in your examination will be provided for
you. However, it is necessary that you are able to recognise the symbols
in formulae and allocate the correct units of measurement to each
symbol in your calculations
You will also find that a scientific calculator will be useful for this programme.



Training Targets


Section 1

The Need for Accurate Measurement

Units of Measurements

- Gas Flow Measurement Applications and Gas Physics

Petroleum Open Learning

Petroleum Open Learning

Contents (contd)

Section 2 - Fluid Flow Principles

Fluid Flow Principles

Fluid Flow Properties

Section 3 - Measurement Devices and Methods

Types and Applications

Orifice Plate Principles
Orifice Plate Flow Calculations

Section 4 - Orifice Plate Metering Equipment

Types of Plate
Sensing Devices
Metering Stations
Safety Implications

Check Yourself - Answers



Visual Cues
training targets for you to
achieve by the end of the

test yourself questions

to see how much you

check yourself answers to

let you see if you have been
thinking along the right lines

activities for you to apply
your new knowledge


summaries for you to recap

on the major steps in your

Petroleum Open Learning

Training Targets
When you have completed this unit on Gas Flow Measurement, you will be able to:
State the gas laws and perform relevant calculations using the appropriate units of measurements.
Define molecular mass, gas density and specific gravity, and perform calculations when given appropriate formulae.
Define Reynolds number and, given Reynolds equation, define the terms in it and use it in a calculation.
Describe Bernoullis principle and state the types of pressure in a flowing fluid.
Describe the main types of gas flow measuring devices.
State the relationship between differential pressure and flowrate.
Describe the main features of orifice plate meters.
Perform a flowrate calculation in which all necessary formulae and data are given.
Draw a schematic diagram of a typical multi-stream system which complies with fiscal standards.
Describe the main safety implications associated with metering systems.
Tick the box when you have met each target

Flow Measurement
Oil and
Gas Separation



Petroleum Open Learning

For most of this century there has been a necessity to measure gas flow accurately, both in commercial applications and scientific investigations.
The measurement of gas flow is more complex than that of liquid since gas is more sensitive to physical factors, such as pressure, temperature, composition,
etc. It has therefore been subjected to considerable research effort, which has led to a high degree of accuracy now being possible.
In this book we will be mainly concerned with natural gas flow measurement, but the principles are generally applicable to all gas phase matter.
This book comprises four sections :
Section 1, Gas Flow Measurement Applications and Gas Physics, outlines areas in which the ability to accurately measure gas flow is essential. It then
covers the basic physics of gas behaviour, which are essential to an understanding of the measurement and flow calculation methods.
Section 2, Fluid Flow Principles, presents the concepts of laminar and turbulent fluid flow, develops the Bernoulli and continuity principles to produce a
simple flowrate / differential pressure relationship.
Section 3, Measurement Devices and Methods, describes various fluid flow measurement devices which are applicable to gases. It then gives a more
detailed treatment of the orifice plate method, since this is the one most widely used. It ends with the ISO 5167 formula, and an explanation of its terms.
Section 4, Orifice Plate Metering Equipment, describes : various orifice plate designs, differential pressure and gas density sensing and measuring
equipment and a typical gas metering station. It ends by drawing attention to the safety aspects of gas metering systems.

Gas Flow Measurement

Section 1 - Applications and Gas Physics

The Need for Accurate Measurement

Gas Sales Contracts

We will start by looking at some examples of

activities that require accurate measurement of
natural gas flow rates.

All natural gas sales contracts are based on

accurately measured volumetric flow rates with
specific reference pressure and temperature

Oil Field Evaluation

A typical field evaluation exercise involves flowing
reservoir fluid from an exploration well to a test
separator, where the liquid and gas phases are
separated. Accurate measurement of the gas and
liquid flow rates from the separator is essential
to the achievement of a reliable appraisal of the
reservoir performance.

Process Control & Optimisation

The control and optimisation of gas processes,
in both offshore and onshore operations, often
requires gas flow rate monitoring as the process
variable in automatic control systems.
An example of this is using the gas flow rate through a
centrifugal gas compressor as a measured variable
to provide automatic flow control / recycling for antisurge protection.

Petroleum Open Learning

Hydrocarbon Taxation
In most oil and gas producing countries, governments
impose various types of revenue on the production
companies. Most of these revenues are applied on
a volumetric basis, so flow rates must be measured
to a high degree of accuracy.

Fiscal Standards
In the last two examples, in addition to the need
for accuracy, there is also the implication of
complex legal considerations. This has led to
the establishment of a set of fiscal standards,
the purpose of which is to achieve consistent
levels of high accuracy and reliability in fluid flow

A comprehensive explanation of surge protection

is provided in the Petroleum Gas Compression
programme which forms a part of this Petroleum
Processing Technology Series.

Petroleum Open Learning

Units of Measurement
It is not possible to fully appreciate the methods
and procedures of gas flow metering without a
basic understanding of the physical behaviour
of gases, in particular the relationship between
pressure, volume and temperature.

Boyles Law
Figure 1 illustrates the principle behind Boyles
Law, which describes the relationship between
the volume occupied by a given mass, or number
of molecules, of gas and its pressure, while the
temperature remains constant.
Figure 1 depicts a piston in a cylinder which
contains a fixed mass of gas. The highly energetic
gas molecules collide with each other and with the
cylinder walls and the piston face, resulting in a
force being exerted. The property we describe as
pressure is defined as the magnitude of that force
divided by the area over which it acts.
The force acting on the bottom face of the piston
is therefore the pressure multiplied by the cross
sectional area of the piston. To prevent the piston
being driven out of the cylinder, a force of the
same magnitude must be applied downwards, in
this case by a weight (W).

The weight (W) balances the force due to the

pressure (P), and the gas occupies a volume (V),
as shown in Figure 1 (a).
Now consider what happens if we double the force
on the piston, a condition we achieve by applying
a second weight of the same mass as the first one
(we assume that the piston itself is weightless), to
exert 2W.
To balance this force the gas must now exert
twice the pressure, i.e. 2P. If we measure the new
volume we find it to be 1/2 of V1, as shown in
Figure 1 (b).

If we double this force to give us four times

the original force, Figure 1 (c) shows that
a gas pressure of 4P is produced and the
volume is reduced to 1/4 of V1.
The relationship between the pressure and volume
is now clear. Doubling the pressure halves the
volume; quadrupling the pressure reduces the
volume to a quarter of its original value. Boyles
Law expresses this formally with the statement that:
At constant temperature, the absolute pressure
of a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely
proportional to the volume.

Petroleum Open Learning

We need to define some of the terms in this statement.

Absolute pressure units must be used
instead of gauge units. Most field pressure
measurement devices read in gauge units,
which means that atmospheric pressure
must be added to the indicated value to
obtain the absolute pressure.
Unless otherwise stated, all pressure references in this
programme will be given as bar, this will infer that the
pressure is bar absolute (bara).



The behaviour of the gas must be Ideal.

The kinetic model that was designed to
enable the prediction of gas behaviour was
based on two main assumptions that
pertain to an ideal gas

The gas molecules are small spheres, the

volumes of which are negligible in
comparison to the volume that the gas
There are no attractive or repulsive
intermolecular forces, and the behaviour
of the molecules when colliding is similar to
that of billiard balls, the collisions being elastic.

The Boyles Law statement that gas pressure (P) is inversely

proportional to its volume (V) can be written
as P is proportional to 1v
Which means that the pressure is equal to a constant (k)
divided by the volume.

Thus : P = kv
so k = PV which is the mathematical way of stating that the
pressure multiplied by the volume gives a constant value.
Referring to Figure 1 (a) and (b), we can write :


P1 V1 = k
P2 V2 = k
P1 V1 = P2 V2

which is the mathematical expression of Boyles Law.

This equation can be used to calculate a new pressure or
volume, where the original pressure and volume and one of
the new conditions are given, at the same temperature.

Charles Law
Charles Law describes the relationship between the
volume and temperature of an ideal gas, while the
pressure is kept constant.
As in the case of Boyles Law, we can use a cylinder
/piston arrangement to demonstrate the principle behind
Charles Law, as shown in Figure 2.
This time, however, we keep the pressure constant by
leaving the force on the piston unchanged, and heat the
gas in the cylinder. Not surprisingly, we find that the gas
volume increases.

5 Ltr of an ideal gas is contained in a cylinder at 2 bar.
A piston then compresses the gas until the volume is
reduced to 3 Ltr.
What will the new pressure be, once the temperature has
stabilised to its initial value ?
We will use the left side of the equation to represent the
initial conditions, and the right the final ones.
Thus :

2 X 5 = P2 X 3

P2 = 2 X 5 = 3.33 bar

Petroleum Open Learning

the volume is measured at various temperatures and the

If the Ifvolume
is measured at various temperatures
results are plotted on a graph, we obtain a diagram like
and the results are plotted on a graph, we obtain
Figure 3 when we use the Celsius temperature scale
a diagram like Figure 3 when we use the Celsius
temperature scale.

Figure 3 : Volume / Temperature Graph

(Celsius Scale Only)

Figure 4 : Volume / Temperature Graph (Celsius and Kelvin Scale)

We see that there is a simple linear relationship

between the volume and temperature (the graph
is a straight line). However calculations involving
temperatures below 0C are slightly inconvenient
due to the presence of negative numbers. This
problem is solved by employing a different
temperature scale which only has positive values.

Figure 4 is similar to Figure 3, but with the graph line extrapolated to intersect the Temperature axis.
This point is taken as 0 for our other temperature scale, and we see that it corresponds to -273.15C.
Absolute Zero is the term that is commonly applied to this temperature, since it is physically impossible
to achieve lower temperatures than it. Absolute zero has been approached experimentally, but has never
been quite achieved; and is therefore a theoretical value rather than a practical one. We see in Figure 4
that the gas would occupy no volume at that point; a futile observation, since no substance would be in
the gas phase at such a low temperature.

Petroleum Open Learning

Absolute zero is the lowest point on the absolute

temperature scale, which is measured in units
called Kelvin (K) in the SI system. In the Imperial
system the units are known as Rankine (R).
As evident in Figure 4, the unit step sizes for the
Kelvin and Celsius scales are the same. So a
one degree Celsius temperature change is also
one Kelvin. (A convention, which is by no means
universally applied, is to omit the term degree
when using absolute temperature units). OC,
then, is 273.15 K, and 100C is 373.15 K, so to
convert from C to K we simply add 273.15 to the
C value.
Absolute zero on the Rankine scale is equal to
-459.67F, and a degree on the Rankine scale is
the same size as a degree on the Fahrenheit
In most practical situations sufficient accuracy is
achieved by using 273 as the conversion factor
between Celsius and Kelvin, and 460 between
Fahrenheit and Rankine. However, where high
accuracy is required, such as in fiscal gas flow
measurement, the more exact values should be

To derive a mathematical expression of Charles'

Law we can employ a similar argument to the one
we used for Boyle's Law.
The statement that the volume of gas is
proportional to its temperature can be written as :

V = cT

where c is a constant

We see in Figure 5 that if the absolute
temperature is doubled, the gas volume will also
be doubled.
Charles' Law, then, states that: at constant
pressure, the volume occupied by a given
mass of gas is proportional to its absolute


Referring to Figure 5 (a) and (b) we see that

V1 = c and V2 =c

hence : V1 = V2

T1 T2
This equation can be used to evaluate the new
volume or temperature of an ideal gas for a
change in which the pressure stays constant.


Petroleum Open Learning

Combined Ideal Gas Law

Boyle's and Charles' laws combine to give the

P1V1 = P2V2

We will apply it in the following examples:

Test Yourself 1.1

2 Ltr of an ideal gas at 10C and 2 bar is compressed to a
volume of 0.5 Ltr. Given that the heat of compression raises its
temperature to 25C, what will its pressure be?

A 5 Ltr sample of gas at 15C and 3 bar a is heated to

45C and has its pressure reduced to 1.5 bar. Assuming
that it behaves ideally, what will its new volume be?
The first step is to ensure that the pressures and
temperatures are in absolute units. The pressures
are quoted in bar a, which means that the values are
absolute. However we will have to add 273 to the
temperatures to convert them from C to K.
Using P1V1 = P2V2



You will find the answer in Check Yourself 1.1 on page 54.

Molecular Mass

we will ascribe the initial conditions to left side, and the

Molecular mass is a physical property of all substances. A comprehensive description of it can be found in
changed ones to the right.
Thus we need to find V2.

3 x 5
(15 + 273)
(45 + 273)
V2 = 3 x 5 x 318
(1.5 x 288)
V2 = 11.04 Ltr

elementary chemistry text books and training manuals, but for our purposes a simple description is sufficient.

All matter consists of atoms. In many substances two or more atoms combine to form molecules. As we wish to
keep this description simple, we will accept the atomic mass units (a.m.u.) given in the following text.
Let us consider methane, the lightest alkane hydrocarbon and the main component of natural gas. It is a
molecule comprising one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms. Carbon has an atomic mass of 12
atomic mass units (a.m.u.). Hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1 a.m.u. The molecular mass of methane is
the sum of the masses of its constituent atoms, which is therefore 12 + (4 x 1) = 16 a.m.u.


Petroleum Open Learning

Although it may not be scientifically correct, the

terms molecular mass and molecular weight
(Mw) are often used interchangeably.
The very small size of atoms and molecules
makes calculations using their individual masses
inconvenient. A more practical approach is to
consider the mass of a large number of them, and
this involves the concept of the mole.
The mole, usually written as mol, or grammemole (g-mol) is defined as the atomic or
molecular mass of a substance expressed in
The number of moles of substance is usually
assigned the symbol n, and is easily calculated
for a given mass (m) of material using the

n= m

Calculate the number of kg-mol in 40 kg of
We have already seen that the molecular mass of
methane is 16.

n = m = 40 = 2.5kg-mol
Mw 16

An appropriate unit of measurement for molecular

weight (Mw) is obtained by using the units in the

n= m equation. Hence:



= m(kg)

= m(kg)

So, in this case, the unit of molecular mass is

kg/kg-mol. It may also be written as kg kg-mol-1
It will have the same value when expressed in
units of g/g-mol, so molecular mass is one of the
few physical quantities for which it is acceptable
to omit its unit of measurement.

Test Yourself 1.2

Calculate the molecular mass of ethane,
which is a molecule comprising two carbon
and six hydrogen atoms.

Having seen how the molecular mass of pure

substances like methane and ethane are
calculated, we will now determine the molecular
mass of a mixture of components, such as
natural gas. We have already seen that methane
is the main constituent of natural gas, but it
also contains smaller quantities of heavier
hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and
butane. The relative amounts of these can vary
considerably between samples of gas, depending
on factors such as the reservoir conditions,
processing methods, etc. These variations can
have very significant effects on the behaviour of
gas during handling and measurement of its flow
We will use a simple example of a
two-component mixture of methane and ethane.
To perform the calculation, we will obviously
need to know the relative quantities of each
component. These are expressed as molefractions, which simply means the relative
number of molecules of each constituent. Let
us assume that our mixture has mole-fractions
of 80% and 20% for methane and ethane
respectively. In other words, 80 of every 100
molecules of the mixture are methane, and 20 are

You will find the answer in Check Yourself

1.2 on page 54.


Petroleum Open Learning

The procedure is shown in the following table, and involves adding up the
results of multiplying the mole-fraction of each component by its molecular


Mol. Mass

Mol. Fraction

Mol. mass x






Mixture Mol. Mass



The mixture in the table could be considered as consisting of molecules with

an average mass of 18.80 kg / kg-mol. In the following exercise you will see
the effect changing the concentrations of the components has on the mixture
molecular mass.

Test Yourself 1.3

Calculate the molecular mass of a mixture comprising 60%
methane, and 40% ethane.

The physical behaviour of the heavier mixture will be considerably different

from that of the lighter one.
The procedure for calculating the molecular mass of mixtures of more than
two components is exactly the same as for two.

Gas Constants
The form of the ideal gas equation we looked at earlier :

implies that

PV = a constant

In other words, for a given type and mass of an ideal gas, the absolute
pressure multiplied by the volume and divided by the absolute temperature
will always produce the same answer.
If we call the constant C, we can rewrite the equation as:

You will find the answer in Check Yourself 1.3 on page 54.

P1V1 = P2V2
T1 T2


A disadvantage of the equation, as it stands, is that C will only be constant for

a gas with a given molecular mass. It will have different values for methane
and ethane, for example. What we need is a constant that will have the same
value regardless of the type of gas under consideration.


Petroleum Open Learning

This is achieved by using the number of moles

(n) of gas, instead of the mass, in the equation.

PV = nRT


Because it applies to all ideally behaving gases,

R is termed the universal gas constant. Its
value will depend on the units by which the other
terms in the equation are measured; the following
table shows values of R for various combinations
of units.

We first find the number of moles of air using:

What is the volume of 1.5 kg of air at 1.5 bar and 25C? (Take the molecular
weight of air as 29, and assume ideal behaviour).

n = m = 1.5 = 0.0517 kg-mol

Mw 29

and use this value in : PV = nRT, having selected the appropriate value of R
from the table as 0.0831. Note that this will make our volume units m3. As these
are the most commonly used units for gas measurement calculations, we will use
0.0831 for all our calculations where a value of R is required
Inserting these values gives:

kPa m3


bar cm3 K
psia ft3




1.5 x V = 0.0517 x 0.0831 x 298


V = 1.280 = 0.853 m3



Ib-mol 10.73

Test Yourself 1.4

How many kg of methane will, when behaving

ideally, occupy a volume of 1 m3 at 2 bar and

You will find the answer in Check Yourself 1.4

on page 54.


Petroleum Open Learning

Reference Pressures and

Gas flow rates are often quoted in volumetric units,
such as m3 / minute and ft3 / minute. Having
studied the very significant interdependence of
pressure, temperature and volume, you will now
be aware that it is meaningless to express a
volume of gas without stating the pressure and
temperature at which it is measured. This has led
to the establishment of reference conditions for
gas volumetric measurements.
The values of reference pressures and temperatures
may vary between countries and contracts, but the
most common ones are


1.013 bar ;



1.013 bar ;



14.73 psia ; 60F

The first one is usually termed Standard

Pressure and Temperature, and the second
Normal Pressure and Temperature. However
you should be aware that some textbooks use
Standard Pressure and Temperature (STP) with
a reference temperature of 0C. Clearly, the first
two conditions apply to the metric system, and the
third to the imperial system.
A standard cubic metre, then, is the quantity of gas
that has a volume of 1m3 at 15C and 1.013 bar.

There are various conventions for expressing

reference volumetric and volumetric flow rate
units. For example the standard cubic metre
may be written as sm3. The oil industry often
expresses gas flow rates in millions of volume
units per day, which would be 106 sm3 / d or 106
sft3 / d. However, the oil industry would normally
write these as MMSCMD or MMSCFD, although
you may also come across ksm3/hr (1000m3 (st)
/ hour in place of MMSCMD. Before performing
any calculations, you must always ensure that you
know which units the quantities you are using are
expressed in, and the units that will apply to the
Gas volumes or volumetric flow rates measured at
pressures and temperatures other than reference
ones are sometimes called actual volume, or
actual volumetric flow rate. 1 m3 at 10 bar and
40C is an actual cubic metre at that pressure and
temperature, and would require conversion to be
expressed in terms of reference conditions, as the
following example shows.


What is the actual volume of 5m3 (st) of an ideal

gas at 3 bar and 25C.
We will use

P1V1 = P2V2
T1 T2

and assign the standard conditions to the left side.


P1 = 1.013 bar
T1 = 15C = 288 K
V1 = 5 m3
P2 = 3 bar
T2 = 298 K

and we are required to find V2.

1.013 x 5

0.01007 X V2 =

V2 = 0.01759 =


3 X V2
1.747 m3


Petroleum Open Learning

Non-Ideal Gas Behaviour

In our work so far, we have repeatedly used the
term ideal to describe the characteristic
behaviour of gas. Real gases can deviate
significantly from ideal behaviour, since the
simple mathematical model from which ideal
gas behaviour was predicted is not adequate to
describe all gases under all possible conditions.
The model has been modified to make prediction
more accurate over a wider range of conditions,
but it is beyond the scope of this book to present
the explanation that these modifications would
Although precise gas flow measurement
techniques would require use of fairly complex
formulae, we will be able to gain an appreciation
of how real gases deviate from ideal behaviour,
and even to make reasonably accurate
calculations, by introducing a term called the
compressibility factor.
The availability of this factor is due to the large
amount of empirical data that has been gleaned
from extensive experimental work over many
years, particularly in the natural gas industry. The
compressibility factor is usually given the symbol
Z, and is a function of the type of gas, pressure
and temperature.
It is customary to present Z in the form of charts,
the general form of which is shown in Figure 6.

This provides curves that represent values of Z plotted against pressure for various temperatures;
so to find the appropriate factor, the point that represents the relevant pressure and temperature is
identified and the corresponding value is read from the vertical axis. In Figure 6, for example, we see
that if the gas pressure and temperature is P1 and T1 respectively, the compressibility factor is Z1.
Note that if the stated temperature lies between two curves, interpolation is necessary.


Petroleum Open Learning

When Z has been determined, it is inserted in the

ideal gas equation thus :


The first point to note is that if Z=1, the gas is

ideal ( multiplying by 1 has no effect ). We see
in Figure 6 that Z = 1 at low pressure, which
includes atmospheric and standard pressure.
So, in most cases, ideal gas behaviour can be
assumed at these pressures. Points on the chart
furthest away from the Z=1 line denote the largest
deviations from ideal behaviour, the Z1 in Figure 6
being an example.
In Figure 6, T2 represents a higher temperature
than T1, and we see that T2 curve is generally
closer to Z = 1 than the T1 curve. This
demonstrates the characteristic that higher
gas temperatures tend to produce behaviour
that is closer to ideal than low ones. However,
temperatures above 300 - 400C will have curves
that show increasing deviation above the Z = 1
line with increasing pressure.

The general characteristic, then, is for curves

of temperatures below about 300C to give
decreasing values of Z (increasing deviation
from ideal behaviour) as the pressure increases.
However, at a certain pressure, a minimum
Z value is reached and further pressure
increment causes Z to increase until it reaches
1, where the gas is again ideal. Increasing the
pressure beyond that point causes Z to become
progressively greater than 1, which is again an
increasing deviation from ideal behaviour, but in
the opposite sense from values of Z that are less
than 1. This should become clearer when we look
at some examples.


Petroleum Open Learning

We will now look at the compressibility factor

chart for methane, depicted in Figure 7.
The chart covers ranges of pressure and
temperature that encompass most processing
conditions. The main features of the chart are:

At pressures of 10 bar or less the gas

virtually behaves ideally.


At temperatures below -20oC methane

becomes rapidly non-ideal as the
pressure rises from 10 to 100 bar.


The maximum deviation from ideal

behaviour occurs at pressures between
100 and 200 bar, for temperatures below


Methane virtually behaves ideally between

about 100 and 200oC, at pressures below
250 bar.


Petroleum Open Learning


Use Figure 7 to find values of Z for each
of the following sets of conditions :

1. 70 bar ; 20oC

2. 100 bar ; -70oC

3. 150 bar ; 0oC

Your answers should be :

1. 0.88
2. 0.36
3. 0.74

The following example will enable you to

appreciate the magnitude of the effect that nonideal gas behaviour can have.

a) ignoring non-ideal behaviour

b) Accounting for non-ideal gas behaviour, we find

in Figure 7 that Z = 0.68 (interpolation between
the T = 30C and T = 40C curves was
required). So we use this value in :

b) accounting for non-ideal behaviour.

Calculate the volume occupied by 1 kg-mol of

methane at 70 bar and 35C,

a) Assuming ideal behaviour, we simply apply

PV = nRT


Since n = 1 kg-mol, we can ignore it. So

= 0.68 x 0.0831 x 238


V = RT


V = 0.0831 x (-35 + 273)


= 19.78

V =

0.283 m3

= 13.449
V = 0.192 m3

We see that, in this case, failure to consider the

non-ideality would have led to an error of
(0.283 - 0.192) x 100 = 47.4%. In other words,

we would have overestimated the actual volume of
the gas by almost 50%.


Petroleum Open Learning


Test Yourself 1.5

Using Figure 7 to find the compressibility factor, calculate the
volume of 32 kg of methane at 100 bar and -50C. Estimate the
percentage error you would have incurred by assuming the gas
to behave ideally.

You will find the answer in Check Yourself 1.5 on page 54.
We have already seen that, to perform gas
calculations involving changes in conditions from
P1, V1 and T1 to P2, V2 and T2 , we use:

P1V1 = P2V2

You will now be aware that, unless the gas is

ideal at both sets of conditions, corrections will
have to be applied.

We have also seen that the compressibility factor

varies with pressure and temperature, so
different values of Z are likely to be required for
each set of conditions; ie. Z1 for P1, V1 and T1,
and Z2 for P2, V2 and T2.
The complete equation will be :

P1V1 = P2V2

Z1T1 Z2T2

Find the volume occupied by 3m3 of methane at

65 bar and 20C, after it has been compressed to
150 bar and chilled to -30C.

P1V1 = P2V2


and assigning the initial conditions to the left side,
P1 = 65 bar, V1 = 3 m3, T1 = 293 K and, from
Figure 7, Z1 = 0.88. The final conditions are: P2 =
150 bar, T2 = 243 K, at which Z2 = 0.61 ; and V2
is the volume we need to calculate.

65 x 3
0.88 x 293

150 x V2
0.61 x 243

1.012 V2 = 0.756

V2 = 0.756 = 0.747 m3

Until now, we have used Z values which were
less than 1, which caused the volume occupied
by a given mass of gas to be less than that
predicted by the ideal gas equation.
Examining PV = ZnRT, from which P = ZnRT

we see that the pressure of a given mass of gas
at a given volume and temperature would also be
less than if it were ideal.


Petroleum Open Learning

It should now be clear that, if Z is greater than 1,

the volume at a given pressure, or the pressure at a
given volume, will be greater than that predicted by
the ideal law. You will also observe, when studying
Figure 7, that Z is only significantly greater than 1
at pressures and temperatures considerably higher
than those we normally encounter.

Figures 8 and 9 are examples of such charts, and apply to mixtures of molecular mass 18.85 and
23.2 kg / kg-mol respectively. Charts are also available for lower, intermediate and higher molecular
masses. When applying factors to mixtures with molecular masses that are between values for which
charts are available, reasonable accuracy can be achieved by interpolation.

As stated earlier, natural gas is a mixture of

hydrocarbons, so it is worth taking a brief look at
the selection of compressibility factors for such
When we looked at mixtures earlier, we saw that,
in addition to the type of components present, the
molecular mass of the mixture is determined by
the concentration, or relative amount of each
component. A mixture with a high concentration
of methane, the lightest hydrocarbon, produces a
lower molecular weight mixture than one with a
lower methane concentration.
The only difference between finding compressibility
factors for gas mixtures and for pure gases, is in
the selection of the appropriate chart. Instead of
the name of the gas to which the chart applies,
a gas mixture chart is identified by the average
molecular mass of the mixture.


Petroleum Open Learning

Comparing Figures 8 and 9, it is clear that,

except at temperatures well above 100C, the
deviation from ideal gas behaviour is considerably
greater for the heavier gas. For example, at
100 bar (10,000 kPa) and 5C, we see that the
Z values are 0.47 and 0.68 for the heavier and
lighter gases respectively. This is consistent with
the fact that its behaviour is closer to ideal when
a gas is relatively light.
We have spent some time looking at the gas laws
and the implications of non-ideal behaviour. We
did so because they are a very important aspect
of gas flow measurement.
We will finish this topic with an exercise in which
you will calculate volumetric flow rates instead
of simply volumes. This should not present
problems, since volumetric flow rate is just
volume divided by time and we substitute the
symbol Q for V in the equation
PV =ZnRT (PQ =ZnRT). This exercise is slightly
longer than the ones you have done so far, and
it is worth ensuring that you understand how the
answers are worked out, especially if you do not
get them right first time.


Petroleum Open Learning

Test Yourself 1.6

1. For two types of natural gas, with
molecular masses of 19 kg / kg-mol
and 23 kg / kg-mol, calculate their
actual volumetric flow rates in m3 /
minute, given the following data:

Mass flow rate = 50 kg / minute

Line pressure = 130 bar
Line temperature = 10oC

2. Find the standard (15oC, 1.013 bar)

volumetric flow rates for both your
answers to part 1.

You will find the answers in Check

Yourself 1.6 on page 55.



In fluid flow measurement, and particularly when

the fluid is gas, density is an important physical

Find the density of methane at standard pressure

and temperature (1.013 bar and 15C).

Density is defined as mass divided by volume,

and is usually given the Greek symbol .


Having seen how sensitive gas volume is to

pressure and temperature, you will appreciate that
density will be similarly affected.
We have already seen that the number of moles,

= PMw =

1.013 x 16
0.0831 x 288

= 0.678 kg / m3

Note that we ignored Z since the gas is ideal at

standard conditions.

Test Yourself 1.7

n = m , and that this can be substituted for


Find the density, at standard pressure and

temperature, of the following natural gas

in PV = ZnRT, so that PV =ZRTm

This is rearranged to :

m = PMw =

which is the form that is often used in gas flow


Ethane (Mw
Propane (Mw
Butane (Mw



You will find the answers in Check Yourself

1.7 on page 56.


Petroleum Open Learning

Specific Gravity
Another method of expressing the density of a
material is to use the measurement specific
gravity (s.g.). Specific gravity is sometimes
referred to as relative density, which is an apt
term since it is defined as the density of the
substance being evaluated divided by the
density of a reference substance.
In the case of liquids, the reference material is
water; for gases it is air.
So for gases we can write:

So, in addition to being equal to the density of

gas divided by the density of air, specific gravity is
equal to the molecular mass of gas divided by
the molecular mass of air. i.e.:

sgg = Mw g
Mw a


sgmethane = 16 = 0.55


Note that sg is a dimensionless number

(it has no units).

s.g. = g

where the subscripts g and a denote the gas

being evaluated and air respectively.
To avoid having to account for non-ideal gas
behaviour, measurements are usually referred to
standard pressure and temperature.
Consider the specific gravity of methane:

sgmethane = methane


As the density () of both methane and gas are

calculated at standard pressure and temperature,
we need only use the molecular mass (Mw) for
gas and air in the equation.


Petroleum Open Learning

Summary of Section 1

Applications in which accurate gas flow measurement is required are :

Oil Field Evaluation

Process Control and Optimisation
Gas Sales Contracts
Hydrocarbon Taxation

Boyles Law and Charles Law combine to express the relationship between the pressure, volume and temperature of gases when they behave
ideally, with the proviso that absolute temperature and pressure units must be used in the calculations.
The number of moles of a substance is found by dividing its mass by its molecular mass, a procedure that can be applied to mixtures as well as
pure substances.
The number of moles (n) can then be used in PV = nRT, where R is defined as the universal gas constant.
The interdependence of these properties demands the use of reference pressure and temperature at which gas volumes are calculated.
Most gases only obey the ideal gas laws at certain pressures and temperatures, so the compressibility factor (Z) is introduced to compensate for
non ideal behaviour.
Gas density can be evaluated from the ideal gas equation, and gas specific gravity is defined as its density divided by that of air, both values being
referred to standard conditions. Gas specific gravity is also found by dividing the molecular mass of the gas by that of air.


Gas Flow Measurement

Section 2 - Fluid Flow Principles

We will start this section with a general outline of fluid flow principles.
You should note that the term fluid applies to gases as well as liquids.

Fluid Flow Characteristics

Petroleum Open Learning

Figure 10 represents fluid flowing through a pipe, in a condition known as

laminar flow. This is characteristic of very gentle flow, in which we see from the
velocity profile that the fluid velocity is zero at the pipe wall, and progressively
increases to a maximum at a point midway across the pipe.

The Streamline Concept

For calculation purposes, the mean or average velocity is the important value;
in a laminar flow situation it would typically be about half the maximum velocity.

The construction of streamlines in a diagram is designed to enable

a visual image of fluid flow characteristics to be achieved, In simple
terms, streamlines are drawn such that adjacent lines represent
different fluid flow speeds.

Consider now what happens if the flow rate is increased. The laminar profile is
maintained until a certain fluid velocity is reached, at which point eddy currents
start to appear, indicating a breakdown of the laminar pattern as the layers start
to mix, and the onset of turbulent flow.

Flow Types : Laminar and Turbulent

Turbulence commences near the centre of the pipe, where the velocity is
greatest, and spreads towards the pipe wall as the flow rate increases. At the
pipe wall a thin layer of laminar flow will survive unless very severe turbulence
occurs. A flow pattern exists between the turbulent and laminar regions which is
known as the boundary layer or transition layer, as shown in Figure 11.


Petroleum Open Learning

The velocity profile is much flatter in a turbulently

flowing fluid, as we see in Figure 12.

Reynolds Number
An indication of whether fluid flow is likely to be
laminar or turbulent, or between them, can be
obtained by calculating a value called Reynolds
Number (Re), using the following formula:
Re = DVavg



= Internal Pipe Diameter (m)

= Average Fluid Velocity (m / s)
= Fluid Density (kg / m3)
= Fluid Viscosity (kg / m s)

Note that Re is dimensionless, since the units on

the right side of the formula cancel each other.

At the boundary layer there is considerable friction

between the moving fluid and the static fluid layer,
giving rise to the term boundary layer drag. A
Telsa pump employs this principle in its design,
which is essentially a disc without blades that
rotates at a very high speed. The boundary layer
provides the friction which allows the disc to
impart centrifugal acceleration to the liquid being

As an approximate guide, values of Re less than

2 000 indicate laminar flow; while values greater
than 30 000 indicate turbulence. For intermediate
values, the flow would be partially turbulent. Note,
however, that this prediction applies to straight
sections of pipelines; at elbows, for example,
turbulence will occur at lower Reynolds numbers.

Viscosity can be considered simply as an

indication of a fluids resistance to flow. Treacle
at temperatures below 10C, for example, has a
much higher viscosity than water. Gases generally
have considerably lower viscosities than liquids,
but this is partially compensated for in Reynolds
number calculations by their densities also being
Reynolds number is an important factor in flow
calculations, and is often incorporated in a quantity
called the discharge coefficient, as we will see

Test Yourself 2.1

Find Reynold's number for a process gas,
with a viscosity of 1.2 x 10-5 kg / m s and a
density of 20 kg / m3, which flows through
a 125 mm internal diameter pipeline at an
average velocity of 2 m / s.
Predict whether or not the flow is likely to
be turbulent.
You will find the answers in Check Yourself
2.1 on page 57.


Petroleum Open Learning

Fluid Flow Properties

Bernoullis Principle
Daniel Bernoulli was responsible for considerable
advancement of fluid flow theory by developing a
principle based on the conservation of energy.
The basis for this principle is that the total energy
of the fluid remains constant at all points through
which it flows. The main assumptions in the
development of the theory are that: the fluid is
incompressible, frictionless and adiabatic (no
heat energy enters or leaves it).
The total energy of a flowing fluid is the sum of
the following components:
Internal Energy (U) can be considered for our
purposes, without describing its thermodynamic
definition, simply as a function of the fluid
temperature. If U is defined as the internal energy
per unit mass, the total internal energy of the fluid
is Um.
Potential Energy is the energy the fluid has by
virtue of its position above some reference
level. If it is a height h above this reference, its
potential energy is mgh, where m is its mass and
g is the acceleration due to gravity. Conversely, it
is the energy required to propel it to a height h.

Pressure Energy can be considered as a form of

potential energy in terms of the ability of the fluid
to do work, such as driving a piston or impeller.
This energy is expressed as the pressure
multiplied by the volume (PV). However, we have
seen that density () is mass (m) divided by
volume (V), i.e.
= m, so V = m and the pressure energy


therefore equals Pm / .
Kinetic Energy is due to the fluids motion,
and can be considered as the energy that will
be converted to another form, or forms, when it
stops moving. It is a function of its mass (m) and
average velocity (v) and is calculated from the
term mw2 which, along with the potential

energy expression mgh, you will recognise if you
have studied elementary physics.
Adding these terms to express the total fluid
energy (E) gives:
E = Um + mgh + mP + mv2

Since we will only be concerned with points in a

flow line immediately upstream and downstream
of flow measuring devices and thus relatively
close to each other, we can simplify the
expression as follows:
The fluid temperature will be constant, so the
internal energy will not change and the term Um
can be discarded.
There will be no significant height difference
between the points, so the mgh term can be
Removing these terms and dividing by the mass
m to get the energy per unit mass (Em) gives:

Em = P + v2

Multiplying energy per unit mass by density gives

Em = P+ v2



Petroleum Open Learning

Here we see that the pressure of a flowing fluid,

subjected to the constraints I have described,
consists of two components : P is referred to as

The Continuity Equation

static pressure, and v2 is called the dynamic

pressure, because it is associated with the fluid
velocity. Clearly, if the fluid is stationary, the total
pressure would be P. Using the symbol PT to
represent the total pressure:

The mass flowrate Qm is derived from = M so

m = V, and, replacing V with Qv,

Em = PT = P + v2


We now have an equation with only three physical

quantities : pressure, density and velocity. If the
fluid density is known, and we measure the total
and static pressures, we can calculate the velocity.
This is the principle used by the Pitot Tube, which
I will describe later.

Alternatively, or additionally, you could consider a

particle which is travelling at the average velocity v
of the flowstream. If, for example, the velocity is 2
m / s, the particle will move 2 m along the pipe in
1 second and the volume of fluid displaced will be
2 x A (the volume of a cylinder is calculated by
multiplying its cross-sectional area by its length;
so the volume of fluid moving along the pipe
in one second is, in effect, that of a cylinder of
cross-sectional area A and length 2 m).

Figure 13: Velocity / Cross-sectional Area

Figure 13 represents fluid flowing, at an average
velocity v, through a pipe of cross-sectional area A.

Qm = Qv = v A

We now have two simple formulae relating

volumetric and mass flow rates to pipe dimensions
and fluid velocities.

The volumetric flowrate Qv is given by:

Qv =Av

You will find that the easiest way to confirm this

is to consider the units involved. Using the SI
system, A is in m2, and v is in m / s; so multiplying
the units gives:
m2 x m/s = m3/s, which is volume per unit time.


Petroleum Open Learning

Test Yourself 2.2

Now consider a situation in which the pipeline

diameter changes, as in Figure 14.

Water flows through a 200 mm internal diameter

pipeline at an average velocity of 3 m / s. Taking
the density of water as 1 000 kg / m3, find the
volumetric and mass flow rates.

You will find the answer in Check Yourself 2.2

on page 57.

Figure 14 : Pipeline Diameter Reduction

Here we see fluid flowing at average velocity V1, from the section of pipe with cross-section
area A, to the section with area a where its average velocity is v2. To account for compressible fluids
which might experience a change in density, we note that the densities are 1 and 2 in the wide and
narrow sections respectively.
The continuity equation, as its name might suggest, is based on the principle that the mass flowrate
must be constant through all cross-sections of a flowstream. So the mass flowrate in the wide section
(1 A v1) is equal to the mass flowrate in the narrow section (2 a v2) :

1 A v1 = 2 a v2 =Qm


Petroleum Open Learning

A liquid flows through a pipeline the diameter of
which changes from 150 mm to 75 mm. If the
average velocity in the wide section is 0.5 m / s,
what will its velocity in the narrow section be ?
Let A and a be the cross-sectional areas of the
wide and narrow sections respectively, with v1 the
velocity through A and v2 the velocity through a.
Note: We are using / 4 x D2 to calculate crosssectional area, although you may be more familiar
with r2

Av =av

v2 = A v1 =


x 0.1502 x 0.5
x 0.0752

The s cancel to give:


v2 = 0.01125 = 2m/s


Figure 15 : Pipeline Diameter Reduction

Figure 15 is silimar to Figure 14, but with the addition of two pressure gauges, P1 and P2, which
measure the static pressures of the wide and narrow pipe sections respectively.
Consistent with the assumption that energy losses due to friction are negligible, the total pressure PT
remains constant; thus we can write:

P1 + v12 = P2 + v22

We can also apply the Bernoulli pressure

relationship, in which the total pressure is the sum
Clearly the pressure P2 must be less than P1 to compensate for v2 being greater than v1 and to obey
of the static and dynamic elements, to a situation
this equation.
involving a changing flowstream diameter.


Petroleum Open Learning

Fluid Flow Equation

From the continuity principle we can express
mass and volumetric flow rates in terms of the
flowstream dimensions and the fluid densities
and velocities. We have been able to calculate
flowrates in the preceding example and exercise,
but only because we were given the average
velocity of the fluid. In practice, accurate
measurement of this quantity is difficult due to the
susceptibility of the measuring devices to fouling,
and other problems; so it is preferable to avoid
measuring it directly.
Taking Bernoullis equation:

PT = P + v2

and the mass flowrate expression :

Qm = v A

which we rearrange in terms of v :

v = Qm

Substituting this for v in the Bernoulli expression


( )

PT = P+

Qm 2

Applying it to the varying area flow depicted in

Figure 15, but assuming that the density does not
change ( 1 = 2 = ), we get:

( )

1+ Qm 2 = 2+
2 A

( )

Now we have an expression relating the mass

flowrate to the change in static pressure,
flowstream cross-sectional area, and fluid
density; no longer requiring velocities. Crosssectional areas are known, pressures are easily
measured and densities can be measured or
calculated. This is the principle behind most of the
gas measurement devices that will be described
in this book.
It is customary to refer to the static pressure
change across a measurement device as the
differential pressure, and it is often called delta
p, which is written as p. So p = P1 - P2.
When p is substituted for P1 - P2 and the
equation is rearranged and simplified, we get:

Qm =


A2 _ a2

While it is possible to measure fluid flow by

applying this equation to a changing crosssectional area pipeline configuration as shown
in Figures 14 and 15, a high degree of accuracy
would not be achieved. In practice, there would
be considerable pressure energy loss due to
turbulence and friction. As stated when describing
Reynolds number, the discharge coefficient term
will be introduced to compensate for this.
Gas flow measurement would be considerably
inaccurate from a calculation using the equation
as it stands, since compressibility is not
accounted for. Again we will see that the equation
will be modified by incorporation of a factor to
correct this.
These corrections and other modifications to the
equation will be described in the next section. You
will be relieved to know that you are not expected
to remember the fluid flow equation, either in this
form or when modified. However, you should be
able to describe the terms in it, and understand
the terms and concepts of the Bernoulli and
Continuity principles from which it was developed.
One important relationship that you should keep
in mind is that the flowrate is proportional to the
square root of the differential pressure.
Because of the absence of the correction factors, I
will not include a calculation exercise at this point;
instead, the following exercise will invite you to
test your knowledge of the terms and concepts.


Petroleum Open Learning

Test Yourself 2.3


Which two components does the total pressure

of a flowing fluid consist of ?


Which quantity is always constant through all

cross-sections of a fluid flowstream ?


State which quantities are denoted by the

following terms and give their SI units


A and a
v (note that this is lower case)



If the mass flowrate and the fluid density are

known how is the volumetric flowrate calculated ?


What is the relationship between the flowrate

and the differential pressure ?

Summary of Section 2
Fluid flow can be categorised as laminar or turbulent, and
Reynold's number can be used to predict which category
Bernoulli's principle of fluid energy conservation can
be simplified and expressed in pressure terms, the
total pressure being the sum of the static and dynamic
Bernoulli's principle, and continuity principle of mass flow
conservation, combine to produce a fluid flow formula
which does no account for frictional losses.

You will find the answers in Check Yourself 2.3 on

page 57.


Gas Flow Measurement

Section 3 - Measurement Devices and Methods

Types and Application

Clearly, the dynamic pressure is found by

subtracting the reading on the static pressure
gauge from that on the gauge attached to the
nozzle. If we call the dynamic pressure Pd , we can
find the velocity from :

The gas flow measurement devices I will discuss

can be described as static, in that they have no
moving parts. There is a device which is used for
gas flow measurement called a turbine meter. As
its name suggests, it contains a small turbine or
fanlike wheel which is rotated by the flowstream,
the speed of rotation being a function of the
flowrate. The rotational speed of the turbine
shaft is converted to an electrical signal which is
processed to give an indication of the gas flowrate.
Some models work quite satisfactorily in some
situations, but the device has not been universally
accepted in applications where high accuracy and
precision are required. For this reason there will be
no further description of it in this book.
The static flow measurement devices can be
categorised into two groups: velocity head and
differential pressure, the names of which give an
indication of their operating principle. I will only
describe one velocity head device: the Pitot tube.
Pitot Tube
I referred to the Pitot tube in the preceding section,
when I described pressure as consisting of a static
and a dynamic element. This is the device that is
normally used to measure the static and dynamic
pressure of a flowing gas, from which the velocity
is then calculated.

Petroleum Open Learning


Figure 16 Pitot Tube

A diagrammatic sketch of a Pitot tube is shown in

Figure 16. The main feature is a nozzle (1)
pointing in the direction of the flow source and
connected to a pressure gauge. A second pressure
tapping (2) is subjected to the pressure at the pipe
wall, perpendicular to the flow direction, and is
thus measuring the static pressure. The pressure
at the nozzle is the total pressure: the static
plus the dynamic pressure, P +v2


Pd = v2


Note that v is the velocity at the nozzle, not the

average velocity of the stream. Before the mass or
volumetric flowrate can be evaluated it is essential
to know the relationship between v and the
average velocity. We see that, in the example
represented by Figure 16, the nozzle is in the
centre of the stream, where it measures the
maximum velocity. As stated when describing flow
patterns, this could be about twice the average
velocity if the flow were completely laminar.
This, then, is one disadvantage of the Pitot tube;
another is that the nozzle is prone to blockage
by foreign matter, as would be the case in the
majority of natural gas applications. However
it should be stated that the device is widely
employed with success where the gas is clean and
the flow characteristics of the system have been
comprehensively determined.
An averaging Pitot tube device is also used in
some cases. This has several nozzles spread over
a larger area of the flow stream, thereby providing
increased accuracy.


Petroleum Open Learning

Test Yourself 3.1

The pressure gauge attached to a pilot
tube nozzle reads 10 m bar g, while the
static pressure gauge reads 9 m bar g,
and gas density is 3 kg /m3. What is
the gas velocity at the location of the
Hint: Remember to convert the pressure
to Pa (1 m bar - 100 Pa), to get the velocity
in m / s. Strictly seaking, you should also
use absolute pressure valves, but, since
the calculation will involve the difference
between two pressures, the same result
will be obtained if the gauge values are

We will now look at differential pressure flow

measurement devices; their principle being to
use the static pressure differential created when
the flowstream diameter is reduced.

Nozzles, an example of which is shown in
Figure 17, are used in high velocity applications;
especially in hostile environments where erosion
or corrosion would damage devices such as
orifice plates. They produce lower differential
pressure at a given flow rate than most other

You will find the answer in Check Yourself

3.1 on page 58


Petroleum Open Learning

Venturi Meter

Dall Tube

In the preceding section it was mentioned that energy losses due to friction occur, and will cause a
reduction in the total fluid pressure. One objective in the design of a flow measuring device should be
to enable the maximum recovery of pressure energy after the fluid has left the measurement location.

The dall tube has a similar aerodynamic design

to the venturi meter, but is shorter and hence less
energy efficient. Its smaller size often makes it a
preferred option to the venturi meter. Figure 19
shows a typical model.

The venturi meter is designed to produce a smooth flow, with the minimum turbulence, into and out of
the narrow diameter section where the velocity is increased. These features are evident in Figure 18.
The advantage of low energy loss is often outweighed by their high cost and space required
for installation.

Figure 18 Venturi Meter

Figure 19 Dall Tube


Petroleum Open Learning

Orifice Plate
The simplest, and cheapest, method of creating
a restriction in a pipeline is to insert a disc with a
hole in it, so that the fluid has to flow through the
hole. The concept could hardly be more simple,
but it belies the deeper understanding of fluid flow
principles that the achievement of accurate and
precise flowrate measurements requires.
An orifice plate is mounted between flanged ends in
a pipeline, and it is this relative ease of installation
and subsequent maintenance that has made orifice
plates the most popular gas flow measurement
device in commercial applications, especially in the
case of natural gas.

Test Yourself 3.2

What is the main difference between
the Pitot tube and the other four p flow
measurement devices mentioned?
You will find the answer in
Check Yourself 3.2 on page 58.

It should be noted, however, that the simplicity

and low cost are at the expense of the smaller line
pressure energy losses enjoyed by devices like the
venturi meter. As we would expect, the presence
of an orifice plate will create considerably more
turbulence than an aerodynamically designed

We will consider orifice plate design requirements

in the next section.


Petroleum Open Learning

Orifice Plate Principles

Configuration and Pressure Profile
Figure 20 is an orifice plate configuration which
also shows the behaviour of the fluid in terms of
streamlines, as it flows through the measurement
The principle, as we have seen, is that the
presence of the orifice reduces the flowstream
diameter, and the resulting increase in velocity
causes a decrease in static pressure from which
the flowrate is calculated.
Note, however, that the maximum velocity is not
exactly at the orifice, but is at a distance equal to
approximately half the pipe diameter downstream
of it, called the vena contracta. This effect is
mainly due to the inertia of the fluid causing it to
continue converging after it passes through the
orifice. So the static pressure is slightly lower
at the vena contracta than at the orifice, which
means that the ideal location for the downstream
pressure tapping is at the vena contracta rather
than at the orifice plate.

Figure 20 Orifice Plate Meter

This brings us to a description of the location of

pressure tappings. Figure 21 on the next page,
shows how the pressure varies at locations on
the flowpath.


Petroleum Open Learning

Obviously the best measurement resolution would be

obtained from the highest differential pressure(p) between
the upstream and downstream regions. In Figure 21, we
see that this is between point 1, the corner between the
upstream surface of the plate and the pipe wall, and point
2, the vena contracta.
However practical considerations must again prevail; it
is easier and cheaper to bore and fit pressure tappings
to the flanges instead of the pipe wall, so most industrial
installations are fitted with flange tappings. Corner
tappings such as would be required to measure the
pressure at point 1 are also less convenient than flange
In applications where pipe tappings are used it, is
customary to use the D and D configuration. D is the

pipe internal diameter, and the upstream tapping is
located at a distance D from the upstream surface of the
plate, while the downstream one is D from the

downstream surface : at the vena contracta.
The differential pressure, then, measured in the Figure 21
diagram is that between points 3 and 4. We also see that
the static component of the line pressure has recovered
at point 5, but not to its upstream value. This reflects the
pressure energy loss due to turbulence, which it somewhat
exaggerated in the diagram. You should also note that a
continuous slight pressure reduction is shown to represent
the frictional losses that occur in all pipelines.


Petroleum Open Learning

Meter Run Specifications

Beta Ratio

In addition to the orifice plate assembly, the

design and configuration of the line in the vicinity
of the meter is subjected to certain specifications,
particularly in fiscal and other contract situations.
The plate assembly and pipeline lengths upstream
and downstream of it are referred to as the meter

The beta ratio () is defined as d, where d is the

diameter of the orifice and D is the internal
diameter of the pipe. is an important factor in
orifice calculations and it is recommended that it
should always be greater than 0.2 and less than
0.7 in natural gas applications.

The objective of these specifications are, as we

would expect, to achieve as smooth and
symmetrical a flow of fluid through the meter as
possible. The presence of bends, valves or other
devices within a certain distance of the meter could
cause measurement inaccuracy, so specific
minimum lengths of straight pipe, both upstream
and downstream of the plate, are stipulated.
The minimum lengths are quoted as multiples of the
pipe diameter, and depend on the types of fitting
such as bends, valves, reducers and expanders
on the upstream side, and on the diameter of the
orifice relative to the pipe diameter. Tables of values
are available in international standards publications
such as ISO 5167; these range from 5 to 80 times
the pipe diameter on the upstream side, and from 4
to 8 on the downstream side.
In some applications where the physical layout of
the plant makes the minimum straight length
unattainable, it is possible to install straightening
vanes upstream of the meter, which help to smooth
out flow disturbances.

Test Yourself 3.3


What is the name of the region where

the minimum flowstream diameter
occurs in an orifice meter, and what is
its approximate location?


On Figure 21, between which points

would the maximum p, and hence
best measurement resolution, be


What is the most common location for

pressure tappings?


Why does Figure 21 show a slight but

continuous line pressure drop in the
direction of flow, outside the region of
the plate?


What is the ratio of a meter in which

the orifice diameter is 130 mm, and
the pipe internal diameter is 250 mm ?

You will find the answers in Check Yourself

3.3 on page 58.


Petroleum Open Learning

Orifice Plate Flow Calculations

The ISO 5167 Formula
At the end of Section 2 we had the following
equation for mass flowrate:

Qm =
2p A2a2

A2 - a2

We saw that this equation required to be modified

before it could be used for accurate flow calculations,
and you will recognise similarities between it and
the following flow equation from ISO 5167:

Qm = CE d2 2p
You will be relieved to learn that it is beyond the
scope of this book to show how this equation is
derived from the preceding one. It looks more
simple, but that is because the modifications have
been mainly incorporated in the first three terms,
which we will now look at.
C is defined as the discharge coefficient, and is
a function of Reynolds number Re and . It can
be calculated from a formula, or obtained from
tables. ISO 5167 presents discharge coefficient
tables for various pressure tapping locations and
pipe internal diameters, but if high accuracy is not
critical, a value of 0.605 can be used in typical

C is the factor that compensates for the energy losses

due to turbulence and friction that were mentioned
earlier, and it is interesting to note that a typical value
for the venturi tube is 0.98, thus reflecting its more
aerodynamically efficient design.
E is called the velocity of approach factor. It has
enabled us to eliminate the A and a pipe and orifice
cross-sectional area terms since it employs the 13
factor in the following formula:


1 - 4

, termed the expansion factor, is important in gas

measurement since it accounts for the compressibility,
and hence density change, of gases when their pressure
changes as they flow through the meter. Liquids, being
essentially incompressible, have an factor of 1, which
means that it can be ignored. For gases, it is obtained
from the following formula:
= 1 - p (0.41 +0.35 4)


The only term that may be unfamiliar to you is Y,

which is the specific heat ratio of gases. It is given by:

= Cp

where Cp is the specific heat at constant pressure,

and Cv is the specific heat at constant volume. These
values vary between gases, and typical values of Y are
1.4 for air and 1.3 for methane.

Again, you are not expected to remember this

formula for , but you should note that its value
increases (approaches 1) as the line pressure
P increases; which confirms that gases become
less compressible as their pressure and density
increases. You should also be careful to avoid
confusing with Z, the non-ideal gas behavioural
factor which was described in an earlier section.
Qv, the volumetric flowrate, is found by dividing
the mass flowrate Qm by the gas density at the
reference pressure and temperature:

Qv = Qm

We saw in Section 1 that:

= PMw

So, if the volumetric flowrate is required to be

referred to standard conditions, P = 1.013 bar, T =
288 K and Z = 1.
This expression can also be used to obtain a value
for , the fluid density upstream of the orifice, in
the ISO equation, so non-ideal gas behaviour is
accounted for here. Clearly, the P, T, Z and Mw
values would be the prevailing ones upstream of
the meter. It is fairly common nowadays, however,
to measure the gas density directly.


Petroleum Open Learning

At the end of Section 2, I asked you to take

particular note of the relationship between the
flowrate Qm and p, in that Qm is proportional
to the square root of p. This relationship, of
course is maintained in the ISO 5167 equation,
and has an important implication with regard to
the resolution to which flow measurement can be

Figure 22 demonstrates the problem associated

with this square root relationship. Were the
relationship linear, the scale on the left would
apply and the resolution to which it is read is
constant over the complete range. With the
square root scale, however, we see that high
resolution is available on the upper region, but
it deteriorates lower down and is extremely
poor near the bottom. For this reason a
range switching facility is recommended, and
stipulated in fiscal systems, so that low flowrate
measurements can be measured to greater

Orifice Plate Size Selection

Reliable flow measurement requires an adequate
p value. If the flowrate is reduced, the differential
pressure across the meter will also be reduced,
and, if it falls below a certain value, the reliability
of the flowrates calculated from it will decrease.
If the flowrate is anticipated to remain near this
value for a considerable time, the plate should be
replaced with one with a smaller diameter, which
will increase the differential pressure.
Conversely, excessively high flow rates will lead
to unreliability, as well as creating undue line
pressure loss due to excessive friction. In such
cases, a larger diameter plate would be fitted.


Petroleum Open Learning


Automated Calculation Methods

An orifice plate meter, with an internal pipe diameter

of 200 mm, has been operating satisfactorily with
a ratio of 0.65. The gas flow through the line is
to be reduced to a rate which will not produce an
adequate p signal. Calculations predict that p
would be satisfactory if is reduced to about 0.45.
What is the diameter of the plate which is currently
fitted, and what is the diameter of the one that will
replace it ?

Having seen the large number of data necessary to calculate flowrates, you will appreciate
that longhand methods of performing the calculations are rather tedious and time consuming.
Fortunately, recent advances in electronic technology have alleviated this problem.
Differential pressure, line pressure, temperature and density measurement signals can be digitised
and processed electronically to yield flowrate readouts directly.


d = D = 0.65 x 200 = 130 mm

To get a beta ratio of 0.45:

d = 0.45 x 200 = 90 mm

You should note that the numbers in this example

happen to give round figures for the plate diameter.
Orifice plates are only available in certain sizes, so
it may not always be possible to achieve a desired
value exactly; hence my use of about 0.45.

We will look at the general layout of such systems in the next section.

Test Yourself 3.4


Which two factors are used to obtain

the discharge co-efficient C?


What is the factor E called.

Given that E = 1-4, what is its value
for a meter in a 250 mm internal
diameter pipe, with an orfice diameter
of 110 mm ?


Why is it , the expansion factor,

important when measuring gas
flowrates ?


Why is it desirable to have a range

switching facility on instruments that
read gas flow measurements
obtained from orifice meters ?


It has been decided to increase the

gas throughput in a 250 mm internal
diameter pipeline which contains an orfice
meter operating with a beta ratio of 0.44.
The increased rate would create a higher
than necessary differential pressure
across the plate in addition to causing
excessive energy loss due to friction.
It is predicted that increasing the beta
ration to about 0.65 will alleviate the
problem. What is the diameter of
the plate to be removed and of the plate
which will replace it, given that plates are
only available with diameters in multiples
of 10 mm?

You will find the answers in Check Yourself 3.4

on Page 59.


Petroleum Open Learning

The following exercise might look a bit formidable,

but is actually not too difficult since you are given
most of the formulae and the numbers you will
need, so it is really a question of inserting them
as appropriate.

Test Yourself 3.5

Given the following:
Qm = CE d2 2p


1 - 4


Evaluate E and p, then calculate Qm, the

mass flowrate of the gas in kg/s.


Find Qv, the volumetric flowrate in

standard (1.013 bar, 15C) cubic metres
per hour.

= PMw

d = 125mm

D = 257.4 mm

p = 100mbar (10000 Pa)

Line pressure P = 24 bar g

Line temperature T = 59C
Mw = 22.7 kg / kg-mol
Z = 0.937

You will find the answers in Check Yourself 3.5

on page 60.

C = 0.605

= 0.9987


Petroleum Open Learning

Summary of Section 3
The main features of the following devices were described:

Pitot tube
flow nozzles
dall tube
orifice plate

The Pitot tube is the only velocity head device, the others being dependent on differential
pressure measurement.
The orifice plate was identified as the most popluar gas flow measurement device, and the rest
of the section was devoted to describing its effects on flowing fluid and how these effects could
be used to measure flowrates. The description showed that:

The maximum fluid velocity, and hence minimum static pressure, is at the vena contracta.

Flange-mounted pressure tappings are the most popular type, although they do not tap
into the regions of the meter at which the maximum differential pressure occurs.
The ISO 5167 formula is used for orifice and contains terms which correct for fluid frictional
energy losses and gas compressibility.


Gas Flow Measurement

Section 4 - Orifice Plate Metering Equipment

Types of Plate
Plate Geometry Variations
Orifice plates are manufactured with various
geometrical designs, examples of which are
shown in Figure 23, to suit different applications.

Petroleum Open Learning

In addition to variations to the location of the orifice

on the plate, there are different designs of orifice
edge, two of which are shown in Figure 24.
The most common type is the square edge with
bevel, and you should note that the plate must be
installed with the bevelled edge facing
downstream. The only exception to this rule is a
plate designed for special applications, which is
known as a conical entrance plate.
The square edge profile is used in applications
where the facility to measure flow in either
direction is required. Clearly, its shape will make
it slightly less aerodynamically efficient than the
bevelled edge plate.

Concentric is the most common type, because

the central location of the orifice allows a
symmetrical flow pattern.
The segmental type is mainly for slurries, and
the eccentric plate is for gas streams which may
contain liquid. The hole, being at the bottom of
the plate, allows liquid to flow through instead
of being trapped, as it would be by a concentric
plate. A variation on this is a concentric plate with
a small hole near the bottom.

As you would expect, the location of the orifices

and the design of their edges will affect the flow
characteristics; so the appropriate factors, mainly
C and , have to be adjusted accordingly.
It is very important that plates which been
damaged are replaced, even if the damage is only
slight. Entrained high velocity solid, or even liquid,
particles will wear the sharpness off the leading
edge; the permissible wear is less than that
which is visible to the naked eye. Other damage
which can occur is buckling due to excessive
temperatures, or high pressure surges.


Petroleum Open Learning

Senior Orifice Plate Fitting

Figure 25 is a sketch of the basic design which comprises an orifice plate

carrier which is moved by a handle operated rack and pinion arrangement,
We have seen that orifice plates are normally fitted between flanges, so a and a chamber situated above the plate.
plate changout demands the inconvenience of depressurising and purging the
The following description is intended as an explanation of the operating
meter run. To alleviate this, the Senior fitting assembly was produced.
principle of the system, and it is important that you do not regard it as an
operating procedure. If your work involves the operation of Senior fittings,
then you must follow the procedures pertinent to your installation.
This explanation applies to a unit fitted to a hydrocarbon gas system.
1. The chamber is purged with inert gas and pressurised to the pipeline

2. The carrier and plate are retracted into the chamber, which is then sealed

from the process stream, depressured and purged.
3. The plate is removed from the carrier and chamber, and the replacement

plate is inserted.
4. The chamber is sealed and purged with inert gas and pressurised to the

pipeline pressure.
5. The plate and carrier assembly is lowered into the meter run.
6. The chamber is safely vented and purged.
In theory, this method can be followed without the gas flow being stopped. In
practice, however, many plant operations managers doubt that it is as safe as
a proper line isolation, depressurisation and purge procedure. Nonetheless,
even if the meter section is isolated, depressurised and purged, the Senior
device saves plate changeout time by eliminating the work and problems that
can be associated with flanges.


Petroleum Open Learning

Sensing Devices
Line pressure and temperature sensing devices
are widely used throughout industry, and the
types used in gas flow metering systems are the
same as those for other applications. We will
therefore confine our attention to the devices that
measure the orifice plate differential pressure and
the gas density.
Electronic measuring and signal processing
devices are becoming increasingly predominant.
Advancement in the design of intrinsically
safe circuitry has allowed them to replace the
pneumatic instrumentation that was traditionally
the only viable means of measurement and
control in hazardous environments. However, this
conversion process is by no means universal, and
pneumatic systems are still in use, particularly on
older plant installations.
Differential Pressure
I will describe two differential pressure sensors,
one pneumatic and one electrical.
The pneumatic one is the torque balance
transmitter, and a simplified sketch is shown in
Figure 26.

The main feature is a cell containing a

liquid-filled twin-walled diaphragm
capsule, which is subjected to the
upstream pressure on one side and the
downstream pressure on the other.
The position of the centre of the capsule
depends on the pressure difference
between its sides; an increase in flowrate,
for example, will reduce the pressure on
the downstream side thus causing the
diaphragm centre to be displaced to the
A force bar, which is linked to the capsule,
transfers the movement to a flapper/
nozzle arrangement in the signal
conditioning system, which is shown
simply as a block diagram. The movement
is converted to a pneumatic output signal
that can be measured directly or, more
commonly nowadays, converted to an
electrical signal first.
The electrical device is the capacitive
differential pressure transmitter, a sketch
of which is shown in Figure 27, on the
next page.


Petroleum Open Learning

Gas Density
A device which is often used to measure gas
density directly uses the vibrating cylinder
principle. The process gas is passed over the
inner and outer surfaces of a thin metal cylinder,
which, like all solid objects, has a natural or
resonant vibration frequency. However, the vibration
frequency of the cylinder is affected by the gas
molecules which interact with its surface and vibrate
with it. The significant property, here is the mass of
gas, the relationship being that increasing the mass
will decrease the vibration frequency. This means
that, if the frequency is measured, it can be used to
evaluate the gas density.
Figure 28, on the next page, is a schematic
diagram of the system. The cylinder requires an
activating signal to make it vibrate; this is achieved
by passing current through the cylinder activating
coil. The vibration frequency is picked up as an
alternating current by the sensing coil, and this
signal is amplified and processed to produce a
square wave output. This type of signal is ideal for
transmission and can be readily converted to an
analogue or digital form.

The upstream pressure is transmitted to the isolating diaphragm on one side of the cell, and the
downstream pressure to the other side. Movement of the isolating diaphragms is transferred to the
sensing diaphragm by silicone oil, and any change in the position of the sensing diaphragm changes
the electrical capacitance between it and the capacitor plates. The resultant electrical signal is
converted to a current reading in the 4 - 20 mA DC range, which can then be processed to produce the
required analogue or digital output.

The frequency range of a typical sensing system is:

4900 Hz at a gas density of 0 kg / m3 (no gas
present) to 3900 Hz at 60 kg / m3. Units are also
available which are capable of measuring densities
up to 400 kg / m3.


Petroleum Open Learning


Petroleum Open Learning

Metering Stations
Typical Multi-Stream System
Metering stations to which fiscal standards apply,
and others in applications where maintenance
of production rates is essential, comprise two
or more meter runs; thus allowing fluid flow to
continue while a meter run is shut down for
Figure 29 is a schematic diagram showing the
main components of a two stream metering
station with a computer based electronic signal
processing system.
We see that each stream has its own computer,
and they are connected to the main or station
computer. The operator interface with the system
is the input / output terminal, which displays live or
recorded data and through which entries such as
changes to meter factors are made.
The temperature, pressure, density and differential
pressure transducers transmit their data to their
stream computer where the signals are processed
and the computations are done and sent to the
station computer.


Petroleum Open Learning

An additional feature shown in Figure 29 is a facility

to measure the gas specific gravity, upstream of
the meter runs. This is an option that is sometimes
used so that a more accurate measurement of the
density is obtained. The sensing element in the
specific gravity transducer is usually a vibrating
cylinder, as in the case of the density sensor, but
with the facility to incorporate a reference gas.
In addition to mass and volumetric flowrates,
measurements of line pressure, temperature and
density can also be displayed. A fiscal requirement
is that flow totalisers are used so that the total
mass or volume of gas for a period of time can be
This description has only outlined the basic
facilities of an automated metering station. Many
installations have additional features such as the
ability to transmit data to central monitoring sites.
The following is an example of some of the main
metering station design requirements that would
likely be agreed between the relevant parties,
which would include the UK Department of Energy,
in a fiscally controlled contract. You should note
that this does not include specifications applicable
to hardware such as the orifice plates, the meter
pipes and the installation of measuring elements.
Please regard this as an outline of some of the
main clauses in a typical agreement in the UK, and
not as a specific contract. If you work on a fiscal
metering system you should try to learn as much as
possible about the terms of the contract.


The gas will be measured in either volume

or mass units, depending on the agreement
between the interested parties. Volumes will
be measured in cubic metres and mass in
tonnes. Volume measurement will be
referred to the metric standard conditions of
15Celsius and 1.01325 bar.


While in most cases gas density will be

measured directly using a density
transducer, in some instances it may be
calculated, by an agreed method, from a
knowledge of the composition of the gas
together with the measured operating
pressure and temperature.


Enough meter runs will be provided to

ensure that at least one standby meter will
be available, at the design production rate.
Isolation valves will be provided so that
individual meters can be removed from
service without shutting down the metering


All computing functions will be done by a

digital microprocessor based flow computer,
one of which will be allocated to each meter

All the constants and factors which are

held in the flow computer will be accessible
for inspection in a general display register
and it will be possible to modify these
values, with authorisation, after overriding
some form of security lock.


Totalisers on individual meter runs and on

station summators will have sufficient digits
to prevent cycling occurring more frequently
than once every two months.

Safety Implications
Most of the safety precautions and procedures that
apply to other items of process equipment handling
combustible gases are pertinent to metering
equipment, and includes:

isolation, depressurisation, purging and


checking for leaking fittings

monitoring for hazardous gases

You should also be aware that many metering

systems are installed in high pressure applications.
I will repeat the statement I made when describing
the Senior orifice plate assembly, which is that you
must always follow the safety precautions and
procedures applying to the installation you are
working on. Nothing in this book is a substitute for


Petroleum Open Learning

Summary of Section 4
We looked at some variations of orifice pate design, and at the Senior fitting
which is intended as a means of simplifying plate changeouts. The pneumatic
torque balance is ofter used to measure differential pressure where electric
instrumentation is not employed. Electrical measurement of differential
pressure often uses capacitance changes in a sensing cell as the output
Gas density can be measured by the principle that the mass of gas in contact
with a thin-walled metal cylinder affects its vibrational frequency.
The main features of two-stream gas metering station were described, along
with some of the fiscal standards it complies with.
I finished by drawing your attention to the fact that metering equipment is
subjected to specific seafety procedures along with the plant in which it is
installed; and you must apply them if you are working on that system.


Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself - Answers

Check Yourself 1.1


P1V1 = P2V2

Check Yourself 1.3

Check Yourself 1.5

Molecular mass of mixture

Find n from n = m = 32 = 2 kg-mol

Mw 16

= (0.60 x 16) + (0.40 x 30) = 21.6

From Figure 7, at 100 bar and -50C, Z =0.50

we will assign the initial conditions to the left

side, so we need to calculate P2 :

Check Yourself 1.4


= P2 x 0.5
(10 + 273)
(25 + 273)

Start by finding the number of kg-moles of

methane using PV = nRT

V = ZnRT

P2 = 2 x 2 x 298
283 x 0.5

so: 2 x 1 = n x 0.0831 x 293

V = 0.50 x 2 x 0.0831 x 223


P2 = 8.42 bar a

V = 0.185 m3

Check Yourself 1.2



n= m

Molecular mass of ethane

0.08214 = m


= (2 x 12) + (6 x 1) = 30

= 0.08214 kg-mol

m = 0.08214 x 16 = 1.31 kg

If the compressibility factor had not been used,

V = (2 x 0.0831 x 223) = 0.370 m3


which is twice the correct value;

ie. an error of 100% !


Petroleum Open Learning

For the heavier gas:

Check Yourself 1.6

For both gases we will use PV = ZnRT, but the first point to note is that,
since we were given a mass flow rate, we will calculate a molar
flow rate using n = m , where m is the mass flow rate.

For the lighter gas, n = 50 = 2.632 kg-mol / minute

For the heavier gas, n = 50 = 2.174 kg-mol / minute

This means that V will be solved as a volumetric flow rate, so we will
replace it with the symbol Q. Hence : PQ = ZnRT

Q = ZnRT

From Figure 8, Z for the lighter gas is 0.66, and from
Figure 9, Z for the heavier gas is 0.51.
So, for the lighter gas:

Q = 0.66 x 2.632 x 0.0831 x 283


Q = 0.314 m3 / minute

Q = 0.51 x 2.174 x 0.0831 x 283


Q = 0.201 m / minute
To replace these actual flow rates at line conditions to standard ones,
we use:
P1V1 = P2V2
and replace V1 and V2 with Q1 and Q2 respectively. We will assign
standard conditions to the left side, so we need to find Q1 for both gas

For the lighter gas:

1.013Q1 = 130 x 0.314


0.003517Q1 = 0.1442

Q1 = 0.1442 = 41.00 m3 (st) / minute


For the heavier gas:

1.013Q1 = 130 x 0.201


Q1 = 0.0923 = 26.25 m3 (st) / minute



Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself 1.7

= PM

1. = (1.013 x 30) = 1.270 kg / m3

(0.0831 x 288)
2. = (1.013 x 44) = 1.862 kg / m3

(0.0831 x 288)
3. = (1.013 x 58) = 2.455 kg / m3

(0.0831 x 288)


Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself 2.1

Check Yourself 2.3

Re = DVavg


Static pressure and dynamic pressure.


Mass flowrate


A and a : Flowstream cross-sectional area (m3)

v (note that this is lower case) : Average fluid velocity (m / s)
: Fluid density (kg / m3)
Qv : Volumetric flowrate (m3/ s)
Qm : Mass flowrate (kg / s)
p: Differential pressure i.e. change in static pressure. the SI unit
is Pa, but mbar is often used.

= 20 kg / m3
D = 0.125 m
vavg = 2 m / s
= 1.2 X 10-5

Re = 20 x 0.125 x 2

1.2 X 10-5
Re = 416,667; indicating turbulent flow.

Check Yourself 2.2

Qv = A v = (


( )

Divide the mass flowrate by the density Qm


The flow rate is proportional to the square root of the differential


2 X 3 = 0.0942 m3 / s

)x (0.2)

Qm = Qv = 1000 x 0.0942 = 94.2 kg / s


Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself 3.1

Check Yourself 3.2

The total pressure, PT = P + v2


The pitot measures the p between the static

and total pressures. The others measure the
static p across the restriction.

PT = 10 mbar
P = 9 mbar

v2 = 10 - 9 = 1 mbar = 100 Pa

v2 = 2 x 100 = 200

v = 200 = 8.16 m / s

Check Yourself 3.3


The vena contracta. It is located at a

distance of approximately half the pipe
diameter downstream of the plate.


1 and 2.


On the meter flanges.


Fluid friction causes pressure energy



= d = 130 = 0.52.
D 250

It has no units since the length units cancel

each other


Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself 3.4


Re and .


E is called the velocity of approach factor.

= 110 = 0.44
E = 1- 4 = 1 - 0.444 = 0.981


accounts for gases being compressible and thus experiencing a change in density when
flowing through the meter.


Because the resolution is poor at the lower end of a square root scale.



The diameter of the plate to be removed:

d = D = 0.44 x 250 = 110 mm
The diameter of the plate to be installed:

d = 0.65 x 250 = 162.5 mm
So the nearest available size is 160 mm


Petroleum Open Learning

Check Yourself 3.5


= d = 125 = 0.486
D 257.4


= PMw = 1.013 x 22.7 = 0.961 kg / m3

ZRT 0.0831 x 288

1 - 0.4864 = 0.972
= PMw =
25 x 22.7
= 21.9 kg / m3
0.937 x 0.0831 x 332

Qm = CE d2

Q = 4.77 = 4.964 sm3 / s = 17869 sm3 / hr ( 17.87 ksm3 / hr)



Qm= 0.605 x 0.972 x 0.9987 x x 0.01563


Qv = Qm Note that we need the volumetric flowrate at standard

conditions, so we calculate using P = 1.013 bar and T = 288 K, Z = 1

1- 4


2 x 10000 x 21.9

Qm = 4.77 kg / s