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VortexFlowMeter

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FlowMeasurement

Working Principle of Vortex Flow Meter


FlowMeasurement,HowItWorks January9,2016

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VortexMeterscanbeusedforawiderangeoffluids,i.e.liquids,gasesandsteam.Theyareto
be seen as first choice, subject to verification to cover the requirements of a particular
application.
Vortexmetersareessentiallyfrequencymeters,
since they measure the frequency of vortices
generated by a bluff body orshedder bar.
Vortices will only occur from a certain velocity
(Renumber) onwards, consequently vortex
meterswillhaveanelevatedzeroreferredtoas
the cutoff point. Before the velocity becomes
nil,themeteroutputwillbecuttozero.
Atacertainbackflow(abovecutoffpoint)somevortexmeterscouldproduceanoutputsignal,
whichcouldleadtoafalseinterpretation.
AlsoSee:VortexFlowMeterAnimation
Vortexmetersareactualvolumeflowmeters,likeorificemeters.Thesebeingintrusivemeters
likeorificemeters,willcausethepressuredropasflowisincreased,resultinginapermanent
loss. consequently, liquids near their boiling point, could introduce cavitation as the pressure
across the meter drops below the vapour pressure of the liquid. As soon as the pressure
recovers above the vapour pressure the bubbles will impode. cavitation causes the meter to
malfunctionandshouldbeavoidedatalltimes.

Principal A fluid flowing with a certain velocity and passing a fixed obstruction generates
vortices. The generation of vortices is known as Karmans Vortices and culmination point of
vorticeswillbeapprox.1.2Ddownstreamofbluffbody.Strouhaldiscoveredthatassoonasa
stretchedwirestartsvibratinginanairflow,frequencywillbedirectlyproportionaltoairvelocity,
St=f*d/V0(withoutdimention)
St=Strouhalsnumber
f=frequencyofwire
d=diameterofwire
V0=Velocity
This phenomena is called vortex shedding and the train of
vorticesisknownasKarmansVortexstreet.
The frequency of vortex shedding is a direct linear function of fluid velocity and frequency
dependsupontheshapeandfacewidthofbluffbody.Sincethewidthofobstructionandinner
diameterofthepipewillbemoreorlessconstant,thefrequencyisgivenbytheexpression
f=(St*V)/c*D
f=vortexfrequency,Hz
St=strouhalsnumber,dimentionless
V=Fluidvelocityatthesheddarbar,m/s
D=Innerdiameterofthepipe,m
c=constant(ratiod/D)

d=Facewidthofsheddarbar,m
Thepressurelossgradientacrossthevortexmeterwillhaveasimilarshapetothatofanorifice
meter.thelowestpointinpressurewillbeatthesheddarbar(comparabletovenacontractafor
orifice meter). downstream of this point of pressure will recover gradually, finally resulting in
permanentpressureloss.Toavoidcavitation,thepressurelossatvenacontractaisofinterest.
Theminimumbackpressurerequiredtoensurecavitationdoesntoccuris:
Pmin=3.2*Pdel+1.25*Pv
Pmin=minimumrequiredpressureatfivepipediametersdownstreamoftheflowmeterinbar
Pdel=calculatedpermanentpressurelossinbar
Pv=vapourpressureatoperatingtemperatureinbar
Rememberformostvortexmetersd/Dwillhaverange,0.220.26,&frequencyodvortices
willdependonsizreofmeter,largerthemeter,lowerthefrequency.Sothemaximumdiameter
of vortex meter is restricted, because resolution of meter could become a problem.for control
purposes. To overcome this problem, onboard digital multipliers are used which will multiply
thevortexfrequencywithoutadditionalerror.
FrequencySensingPrinciple
PiezoelectricalSensorsapairofpiezoelectricalcrystalsisbuiltintothesheddarbar.asthe
sheddar bar will be subject to alternating forces caused by shedding frequency, so will the
piezocrystals.
VariablecapacitanceSensorsapairofvariablecapacitancesensorsisbuiltintothesheddar
bar.Asthesheddarbarwillbesubjecttoalternatingmicromovementscausedbyforcesasa
resultofthesheddingfrequency,thecapacitorswillchangetheircapacitanceaccordingly.
PerformanceofVortexmetersisinfluencedby
changeinsheddarbargeometryowningtoerosion
changeinsheddarbargeometryowningtodeposits,i.e.Wax
corrosionofupstreampiping
changeinpositionofsheddarbarifnotproperlysecured
Hydraulicnoise.
Ingeneralvotexmeterwillconsistoffollowingelectonicspart
pickup elements, ACpre amplifiers, ACamplifier with filters, Noise abatement features,
SchmittTrigger,Microprocessor

Features
Thevortexsheddingmeterprovidesalineardigital(oranalog)outputsignalwithouttheuseof
separatetransmittersorconverters,simplifyingequipmentinstallation.Meteraccuracyisgood
overapotentiallywideflowrange,althoughthisrangeisdependentuponoperatingconditions.
Thesheddingfrequencyisafunctionofthedimensionsofthebluffbodyand,beinganatural
phenomenon, ensures good long term stability of calibration and repeatability of better than
0.15%ofrate.Thereisnodriftbecausethisisafrequencysystem.
The meter does have any moving or wearing components, providing improved reliability and
reduced maintenance. Maintenance is further reduced by the fact that there are no valves or
manifolds to cause leakage problems. The absence of valves or manifolds results in a
particularlysafeinstallation,animportantconsiderationwhentheprocessfluidishazardousor
toxic.
Ifthesensorutilizedissufficientlysensitive,thesamevortexsheddingmetercanbeusedon
both gas and liquid. In addition, the calibration of the meter is virtually independent of the
operatingconditions(viscosity,density,pressure,temperature,andsoon)whetherthemeteris
beingusedongasorliquid.
Thevortexsheddingmeteralsooffersalowinstalledcost,particularlyinpipesizesbelow6in.
(152mm)diameter,whichcomparescompetitivelywiththeinstalledcostofanorificeplateand
differentialpressuretransmitter.
The limitation include meter size range. Meters below 0.5 in. (12 mm) diameter are not
practical, and meters above 12 in. (300 mm) have limited application due their high cost
comparedtoanorificesystemandtheirlimitedoutputpulseresolution.Thenumberofpulses
generated per unit volume decreases on a cube law with increasing pipe diameter.
Consequently,a24in.(610mm)diametervortexsheddingmeterwithatypicalblockageratio
of0.3wouldonlyhaveafullscalefrequencyoutputofapproximately5Hzat10ft/s(3m/s)fluid
velocity.
SelectionandSizing:
Asthefirststepintheselectionprocess,theoperatingconditions(processfluidtemperature,
ambient temperature, line pressure, and so on) should be compared with the meter
specification.Themeterwettedmaterials(includingbondingagents)andsensorsshouldthen
be checked for compatibility with the process fluid both with regard to chemical attack and
safety. On oxygen, for example, non ferrous material should be used avoided or approached
with extreme caution. The meter minimum and maximum flow rates for the given application
shouldthenbeestablished.
The meter minimum flow rate is established by a Reynolds number of 10,000 to 10,500, the
fluiddensity,andaminimumacceptablesheddingfrequencyfortheelectronics.Themaximum
flow rate is governed by the meter pressure loss (typically two velocity heads), the onset of
cavitation with liquids, and sonic velocity flow (choking) with gases. Consequently, the flow

range for any application depends totally upon the operating fluid viscosity, density, and the
vapour pressure, and the applications maximum flow rate and line pressure. On low viscosity
productssuchaswater,gasoline,andliquidammonia,andwithapplicationmaximumvelocity
of 15 ft/s (4.6 m/s), vortex shedding meters can have a rangeability of about 20:1 with a
pressurelossofapproximately4PSIG(27.4kPa).
Themetersgood(ofrate)accuracyanddigitallinearoutputsignalmakeitsapplicationover
wideflowrangesapracticalproposition.Therangeabilitydeclinesproportionallywithincrease
in viscosity, decrease in density, or reductions in the maximum flow velocity of the process.
Vortexsheddingmetersarethereforeunsuitableforuseonhighviscosityliquids.
VortexMeterAdvantages
Vortexmeterscanbeusedforliquids,gasesandsteam
Lowwear(relativetoturbineflowmeters)
Relativelylowcostofinstallationandmaintenance
Lowsensitivitytovariationsinprocessconditions
Stablelongtermaccuracyandrepeatability
Applicabletoawiderangeofprocesstemperatures
Availableforawidevarietyofpipesizes
VortexFlowMeterLimitations
Notsuitableforverylowflowrates
Minimumlengthofstraightpipeisrequiredupstreamanddownstreamofthevortexmeter
Vortexflowmetersaresuitableforavarietyofapplicationsandindustriesbutworkbestwith
clean,lowviscosity,mediumtohighspeedfluids.
Someofthemainusesinclude:
Custodytransferofnaturalgasmetering
Steammeasurement
Flowofliquidsuspensions
Generalwaterapplications
Liquidchemicals&pharmaceuticals
AlsoRead:TurbineFlowMeterWorkingPrinciple

POSTED BY S BHARADWAJ REDDY