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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/etfs

Error analysis of gas and liquid flow rates metering method based on

differential pressure in wet gas

Xuebo Zheng a, Denghui He a, Zhigang Yu b, Bofeng Bai a,

a

b

State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Flow in Power Engineering, Xian Jiaotong University, Xian 710049, China

Oil and Gas Technology Research Institute, PetroChina Changqing Oilfield Branch Company, Xian 710018, China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 27 April 2016

Received in revised form 11 July 2016

Accepted 12 July 2016

Available online 14 July 2016

Keywords:

Gas and liquid flow rates

Over-reading correlation

Error propagation rules

Differential pressure fluctuation

a b s t r a c t

Online measurement of gas and liquid flow rates in wet gas is of great significance in industry. When the

differential pressure meter is used to measure the gas and liquid flow rates, an over-reading correlation is

needed to correct the liquid-induced overestimation of the gas flow rate and an auxiliary correlation is

needed to obtain the liquid fraction or flow rate. With the two correlations incorporated, the gas and liquid flow rates can be calculated. In the present study, error analysis of this metering method is conducted.

The results demonstrate that metering methods based on differential pressure exhibit similar error pattern, i.e., the prediction error of gas phase is small while that of the liquid phase is large. This phenomenon can be interpreted by error propagation and the underlying physics is that the two-phase

differential pressure is mainly dependent on the gas phase but insensitive to the liquid phase. It is found

that both the mean value and the fluctuation of the differential pressure signals are able to reflect flow

rate changes of wet gas flow. However, metering methods based on the differential pressure fluctuation

present larger prediction errors than that based on the differential pressure mean value. The reason is

that the differential pressure fluctuation has much poorer repeatability compared with the differential

pressure mean value.

2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Wet gas is a subset of gas-liquid two-phase flow, which widely

exists in industrial processes, such as oil and gas industry, nuclear

industry, and chemistry industry. According to the technical report

released by ASME, wet gas refers to gas-liquid two-phase flow with

the Lockhart-Martinelli parameter less than or equal to 0.3 [1].

Accurate online measurement of wet gas flow rate is important

for engineering and science.

As the most robust and repeatable type of flow meters, differential pressure meters have been widely applied and researched in

wet gas flows [2]. However, a problem with differential pressure

meters is that the presence of liquid in the gas flow results in a

phenomenon termed over-reading [1], which is a positive error

of gas flow rate prediction. In order to acquire the actual gas flow

rate, one common method is to use an over-reading correlation to

correct the liquid-induced error. This approach is feasible on condition that the liquid flow rate or some form of liquid fraction

information (e.g. the gas mass fraction) is supplied. In general,

the liquid fraction is obtained via an auxiliary correlation, which

Corresponding author.

E-mail address: bfbai@mail.xjtu.edu.cn (B. Bai).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2016.07.017

0894-1777/ 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

parameter of the flow. Thus, with the over-reading correlation

and the auxiliary correlation incorporated, the gas and liquid flow

rates can be predicted simultaneously.

Over the past few decades, many typical over-reading correlations with regard to different throttle devices have been developed,

such as Murdock correlation [3], Bizon correlation [4], Chisholm

correlation [5], de Leeuw correlation [6], Lin correlation [7] and

others, and an enormous amount of researches have been

conducted worldwide to improve the performance of these typical

correlations [813]. As to the auxiliary correlation, the key is to

extract characteristic parameters of the flow.

The across throttle device pressure drop, usually termed differential pressure, is a widely used characteristic parameter. Throttle

devices with specific geometries produce distinct differential

pressure and hence generate distinct over-reading correlations.

Therefore, by installing two different throttle devices in series

and solving the two combined over-reading correlations, the auxiliary correlation can be obtained. For example, in the work done

by Zhang [14], gas and liquid flow rates measurement was

achieved in this way. Sometimes, however, distinction between

the two over-reading correlations is very small, making the two

correlations almost identical. As a consequence, there may be no

246

Nomenclature

English symbols

A

area of the meter inlet (m2)

At

cross-sectional area at the throat (m2)

B

dimensionless parameter in Eq. (13) ()

C

error transfer coefficient ()

Cd

discharge coefficient ()

dn

coefficient in Eq. (31) ()

1

E

velocity of approach, E p

()

4

Greek symbols

q

b

equivalent diameter ratio, b AAt ()

d

deviation

dr

relative deviation (%)

DP

differential pressure (Pa)

e

expansibility coefficient ()

q

density (kg/m3)

r

standard deviation

Frg

m

OR

P

Pc

u

U

Usg

x

XLM

Subscripts

app

apparent

ave

average value

g

gas phase

l

liquid phase

max

maximum value

min

minimum value

tp

two-phase/wet gas

1b

mass flow rate (kg/s)

over-reading ()

pressure (Pa)

confidence level (%)

standard uncertainty ()

relative standard uncertainty ()

superficial gas velocity (m/s)

gas mass fraction ()

Lockhart-Martinelli parameter ()

Moreover, this method needs two throttle devices and two differential pressure sensors, thus increasing flow resistance and making

the metering system more complicated and costly.

The permanent pressure loss, which has contributed to on-line

detection of wet gas [16,17], can also be used as a characteristic

parameter to establish the auxiliary correlation. A recent study

carried out by Monni [18] applied the permanent pressure loss in

Venturi meter to derive flow rates of the gas and liquid phases.

However, a drawback of this method is that the permanent pressure loss or pressure loss ratio (the ratio of pressure loss to differential pressure) may not vary monotonously with flow rates in the

whole wet gas range [17]. Besides, although only one throttle

device is needed when using permanent pressure loss as the characteristic parameter, the metering system still consists of two differential pressure sensors, thus increasing the investment.

It is well-known that, due to the non-uniform distribution of

phases, turbulence, interaction between each phases and interaction between fluid and the pipe wall, flow parameters such as

pressure and differential pressure exhibit fluctuation when the

gas-liquid two-phase flow (wet gas) passes through the throttle

device [19]. In-depth study reveals that the fluctuation contains a

wealth of information relevant to the flow, and whereupon the

fluctuation can be considered as a characteristic parameter. The

differential pressure fluctuation has been applied in flow regime

identification [20,21] and aiding wet gas metering [15]. Shaban

[22] attempted to measure the gas and liquid flow rates by the

application of machine learning techniques to differential pressure

signals. Shen [23] managed to measure the gas mass fraction and

the total mass flow rate of air-water two-phase flow. Theoretically,

once the gas mass fraction and the total mass flow rate were

acquired by using differential pressure fluctuation [23], the gas

and liquid flow rates could be computed afterwards. Thus, flow

rate measurement of the two phases can be implemented by using

only one throttle device and one differential pressure sensor, making the metering system simplified and cost-effective.

Electrical parameters, such as the capacitance and the conductance, can act as characteristic parameters as well. Huang [24] used

a single-wire capacitance probe to measure the equivalent water

layer height in gas-liquid flow. Abbas [25] used a conductance

multiphase Venturi meter to measure the gas volume fraction at

the inlet and the throat of the Venturi. However, electrical parameters are easily affected by component, salinity and temperature.

When using differential pressure meters to measure the gas and

liquid flow rates in wet gas, a widely existed phenomenon is that

the prediction error of the gas phase is small while that of the liquid phase is large. Most researchers attempted to improve the

measurement accuracy by proposing new correlations [16,17,26].

However, there is no published work conducting error analysis

on differential pressure meters to explain this prediction error

pattern.

In this study, laboratory experiments are carried out to investigate the application of differential pressure fluctuation in wet gas

flow rate measurement. Afterwards, error analysis of metering

method based on differential pressure is concluded, aiming at

interpreting the prediction error pattern. Finally, characteristics

of the differential pressure signals are analyzed and their influences on the gas and liquid flow rates measurement are discussed.

2. Metering method based on differential pressure

When a differential pressure meter is used with wet gas flow,

the two-phase differential pressure from the meter is higher than

that, which would be read if the gas phase of the wet gas flowed

alone [1]. Consequently, the gas mass flow rate prediction due to

the two-phase differential pressure, which is generally termed

the apparent gas mass flow rate (mg,app) (indicated by Eq. (1)), is

larger than the actual gas mass flow rate (mg). Therefore, there is

a positive prediction error, usually called the over-reading (OR),

as is shown in Eq. (2).

mg;app EC d eAt

mg;app

OR

mg

q

2qg DPtp

1

2

where E is the velocity of approach; At is the minimum crosssectional area of a differential pressure meter, sometimes called

the throat; Cd is the discharge coefficient; e is the expansibility

coefficient; qg is the gas density; DPtp is the two-phase (wet gas)

differential pressure.

The over-reading denotes influences induced by the liquid

phase on the gas phase. Provided that the liquid flow rate or some

247

positive error can be corrected by Eq. (3). Therefore, in order to

predict the gas flow rate, the over-reading needs to be calculated.

Experimental researches indicate that, for a set geometry meter,

the over-reading is dependent on the Lockhart-Martinelli parameter (XLM), the gas-to-liquid density ratio (qg/ql) and the gas densiometric Froude number (Frg), as expressed in Eq. (4). In this paper,

Eq. (4) is referred to as the over-reading correlation. The parameters, XLM and Frg are defined in Eqs. (5)(8) [1].

mg;app

OR

OR f X LM ; qg =ql ; Fr g

s

s

ml qg 1 x qg

X LM

x

mg ql

ql

mg

mg

x

mtp mg ml

s

qg

U sg

Fr g p

gD ql qg

mg

U sg

3

4

5

6

7

mg

Aq g

where mtp is the total mass flow rate; ml is the liquid mass flow rate;

x is the gas mass fraction; Usg is the superficial gas velocity; A is the

area of the meter inlet.

Historically, a series of over-reading correlations have been proposed. The separated flow model [7] is the most basic model in wet

gas flow rate measurement with differential pressure meters. In

the separated flow model, the gasliquid two-phase flow is treated

separately as two single incompressible fluids flowing alone in the

pipe with identical discharge coefficients and differential pressures

to each other. The over-reading correlation derived from the separated flow model can be described as the simplest form:

OR 1 X LM

Many scholars had conducted modification to Eq. (9). For example, Murdock [3] assumed that the gas and liquid phases could

have individual flow equations with unique discharge coefficients,

and modified the correlation with experimental data; Bizon [4]

applied the similar method as Murdock used; Chisholm [5] considered the influence of shear between the gas and liquid phases; de

Leeuw [6] considered the influence of gas densiometric Froude

number (Frg); Lin [7] considered the influence of gas-to-liquid density ratio (qg/ql). The corresponding correlations are tabulated in

Table 1 and they are referred to as modified separated flow model

over-reading correlations in this paper.

If the liquid-to-gas flow rate ratio is known in prior, the overreading can be calculated by using the correlations in Table 1.

Then, the actual gas mass flow rate can be predicted by Eq. (10).

Afterwards, by incorporating Eqs. (6) and (10), equations for predicting the liquid mass flow rate (ml) and the total mass flow rate

(mtp) can be rearranged as Eqs. (11) and (12).

mg

EC d eAt

q

2qg DPtp

10

OR

q

EC d eAt 2qg DP tp 1 x

ml

OR

q x

mtp

EC d eAt

11

2qg DPtp

12

OR x

measurement, the gas mass fraction x (or some form of gas-toliquid flow rate ratio information) needs to be supplied. A feasible

approach is to establish an auxiliary correlation to calculate the gas

mass fraction. The key issue in establishing the auxiliary correlation is the selection of flow characteristic parameters. In this study,

the fluctuation of differential pressure signals is chosen as the

characteristic parameter. The relationship between the differential

pressure fluctuation and the gas mass fraction is obtained through

experiments, and then the specific form of the auxiliary correlation

is obtained by fitting experimental data.

3. Experimental facilities and scheme

A conical orifice plate with flange taps, exhibited in Fig. 1(a), is

used in the experiment, where the diameter of the throat is 15 mm,

the equivalent diameter ratio is 0.3, the inlet-cone angle is 60, the

outlet-cone angle is 70, and the width of the platform connecting

the inlet cone and the outlet cone is 1.5 mm. As is shown in Fig. 1

(b), the test section consists of two straight pipes with the inner

diameter of 50 mm, a conical orifice plate, two connecting pipes,

two needle values, a pressure transducer and a differential pressure transducer.

The experimental setup shown in Fig. 2 consists of the air and

the water loops, with whom flow meters are equipped to measure

the single-phase flow rate. There is a transparent observation section made of quartz installed before the orifice palate section. The

diameter of the quartz tube is 50 mm. A high speed camera is used

to record the flow.

The flow system pressure ranges from 0.7 MPa to 1.0 MPa. The

gas mass flow rate is between 200 kg/h and 400 kg/h while the liquid mass flow rate is between 7 kg/h and 390 kg/h, so that the gas

mass fraction ranges from 0.4 to 0.97 while the Lockhart-Martinelli

Table 1

Typical over-reading correlations.

Model

Throttle element

Correlation

Orifice plate

OR = 1 + XLM

Murdock [3]

Orifice plate

OR = 1 + 1.26XLM

Bizon [4]

Orifice plate

OR = a + bXLM

Venturi

Chisholm [5]

Orifice plate

OR = a + bXLM

q

OR 1 C Ch X LM X 2LM

14 14

q

q

C Ch qg q l

l

g

de Leeuw [6]

Venturi

OR

q

1 C de X LM X 2LM

q n n

C de qg qql

l

g

Lin [7]

Orifice plate

OR = 1 + hLXLM

a 1:0818 b 0:9999 b 0:70

a 1:0426 b 1:0799 b 0:58

n 0:41;

n 0:6061 e0:746Frg ;

2

q

q

hL 1:48625 9:26541 qg 44:6954 qg

l

l

3

5

qg

qg 4

q

60:615 q

5:12966 q 26:5743 qg

l

Fr g P 1:5

248

Fig. 2. Experimental setup: 1-air compressor, 2-air tank, 3-air filter, 4-air freezing dryer, 5-ball valve, 6-pressure gauge, 7-thermometer, 8-globe valve, 9-air mass flow meter,

10-check valve, 11-control valve, 12-water tank, 13-sluice valve, 14-centrifugal pump, 15-electromagnetic flow meter, 16-gas-liquid mixer, 17-temperature transducer,

18-pressure transducer, 19-differential pressure transducer, 20-gas-liquid separator, 21-high speed camera.

photographs taken by the high speed camera (Fig. 3), the flow patterns of the experimental conditions are stratified flow, which is

consistent with the flow distribution in the Mandhane flow pattern

map [27]. The uncertainties of the temperature, the pressure, the

differential pressure, the gas mass flow rate and the liquid mass

flow rate are 1.07%, 0.37%, 0.22%, 0.94% and 4.26%, respectively.

The experimental data are collected with the NI USB-6229 data

acquisition module and the LabVIEW based software. The sampling

frequency is 50 Hz and the sampling time is 60 s. For every experimental point, we remain the conditions unchanged (i.e. with the

same pressure, temperature, gas flow rate and liquid flow rate)

and collect three data sets at different time.

4. Experimental results and analysis

Differential pressure signals exhibit fluctuation when the gasliquid two-phase flow passes through the throttle device. The

dimensionless parameter B is used to reflect the differential pressure fluctuation:

rDPtp

DPtp

13

(DPtp) is the standard deviation of the differential pressure signals.

As illustrated in Fig. 4, B decreases as the gas mass fraction x

increases, and the corresponding correlation, namely the auxiliary

correlation, is fitted as Eq. (14):

x e0:100835:57B

14

The gas mass fraction can be calculated by Eq. (14), and the prediction result is shown in Fig. 5. Then, the gas mass flow rate, the

liquid mass flow rate and the total mass flow rate can be obtained

by substituting the over-reading OR and the gas mass fraction x

into Eqs. (10)(12). In this paper, the separated flow model, the

Murdock correlation, the Chisholm correlation and the Lin correlation are used to calculate the over-reading OR. The prediction

results of the flow rates are shown in Figs. 68.

4.1. Error propagation rules of metering method based on differential

pressure

Figs. 68 indicate that the prediction results of different overreading correlations have minor difference from each other and

they have same error pattern: the prediction error of the gas phase

is small, while the prediction error of the liquid phase is large; the

249

Fig. 6. Comparison between experimental and estimated gas mass flow rate.

250

is usually lower than 3 MPa, which gives:

Table 2

Comparison of prediction errors (Pc is the confidence level).

Author

Zhang [14]

Monni [18]

Present study

C g < 0:5

mg

ml

mtp

7%

5%

10%

(Pc = 87%)

5%

2%

5%

(Pc = 94%)

12%

30%

25%

(Pc = 74%)

10%

10%

(Pc = 90%)

the gas mass fraction. Besides, we compared our results with

Zhang [14] and Monni [18]. The comparison in Table 2 shows that

previous work has the same error pattern as in the present study. It

is worth noting that both previous methods and our method are

founded on the basis of over-reading correlations, but with different characteristic parameters used for calculating the gas mass

fraction. Accordingly, it is conceivable to infer that the same error

pattern results from the over-reading correlations.

In the following part, the error propagation rules of metering

method based on differential pressure are investigated, provided

that the gas mass fraction has been supplied in prior via the auxiliary correlation. As stated previously in Section 2, the other correlations in Table 1 can be regarded as modified separated flow

model over-reading correlations, and Figs. 68 also show that the

separated flow model has the same error pattern as the others.

Therefore, the following error analysis is based on the separated

flow model over-reading correlation (i.e. Eq. (9)) for simplicity. It

is rational to claim that the results of error analysis apply to all

the over-reading correlations developed from separated flow

model.

According to error propagation theory, the deviation of indirectly measured parameter y can be estimated by that of the

directly measured parameters xi:

dy

n

X

@f

dxi

@x

i

i1

15

Substituting Eqs. (5) and (9) into Eq. (10) gives the equation for

the gas mass flow rate:

q

mg EC d eAt 2qg DP tp

q

x 1 x qg =ql

16

@m

g

dx

dmg

@x

mg

mg

1

1 x q

1

qg =ql

x

q

qg =ql dx

dx

Cg

x

x

x

17

where Cg is the error transfer coefficient for gas mass flow rate.

1

1 x q

Cg 1

qg =ql

x

q

qg =ql

<

x

q

qg =ql

x

1 X LM

q

qg =ql

x

18

1 x q

qg =ql 6 0:3 )

x

q

qg =ql

6 0:3

q

qg =ql

q

qg =ql .

X LM

the gas mass flow rate is much smaller than that of the gas mass

fraction.

Substituting Eqs. (5) and (9) into Eq. (11) gives the equation for

the liquid mass flow rate:

ml EC d eAt

19

q

long as the pressure is no more than 37 MPa (where qg =ql < 0:7).

q

2qg DPtp

1x

q

x 1 x qg =ql

21

then, the relative error of the liquid mass flow rate can be estimated

in the same way:

1

@ml

dx

dml

1 x q

1

dx

dx

C l

@x

1

qg =ql

x

1x x

x

ml

ml

22

where Cl is the error transfer coefficient for liquid mass flow rate:

1

1 x q

1

1

1

Cl 1

qg =ql

x

1 x 1 X LM 1 x

23

Likewise, XLM 6 0.3 for wet gas, rearranging Eq. (23) gives

Cl P

1

1:31 x

24

It is worth noting that, for wet gas with x > 0.23, Cl is larger than

1, which means that the relative error of liquid mass flow rate is

amplified due to error propagation. Moreover, the greater the gas

mass fraction, the higher the degree of amplification. When

x = 0.99, for instance, the relative error of liquid mass flow rate is

77 times larger than that of the gas mass fraction.

Substituting Eqs. (5) and (9) into Eq. (12) gives the equation for

the total mass flow rate:

q

2qg DPtp

q

ml

x 1 x qg =ql

EC d eAt

25

Then, the relative error of the total mass flow rate can be estimated similarly:

@mtp

@x

Therefore, the relative error of the gas mass flow rate can be

estimated by that of the gas mass fraction:

20

dx

dmtp

mtp

mtp

q

1 qg =ql x

dx

dx

q C tp

q

x

qg =ql 1 qg =ql x x

26

where Ctp is the error transfer coefficient for total mass flow rate.

It is evident that Ctp is less than but close to 1, so the relative

error of the total mass flow rate is smaller but equivalent to that

of the gas mass fraction. In addition, the minus sign before the

error transfer coefficient in Eq. (26) denotes that the error tendency of total mass flow rate is opposite to that of gas mass fraction (see Figs. 5 and 8).

To sum up, due to error propagation, the relative error of the gas

mass flow rate is much smaller than that of the gas mass fraction,

whereas the relative error of the liquid mass flow rate is much larger than that of the gas mass fraction; the relative error of the total

mass flow rate is equivalent to that of the gas mass fraction.

Besides, the error pattern is a universal phenomenon for wet gas

metering method based on differential pressure.

The physical essence of the great gap between measurement

accuracy of the gas and liquid phases lies in the fact that the two

phases have exerted different influence on the two-phase differential pressure. According to the separated flow model [7], the mass

flow rate equations for the gas and liquid phases if they flowed

alone would be:

q

mg EC d eAt 2qg DPg

p

ml EC d eAt 2ql DPl

251

27

28

where DPg and DPl are the pressure drop if gas or liquid flowed

alone, respectively. Then, the single phase differential pressure ratio

can be deduced from Eqs. (27) and (28):

2

DP l

ml qg

X 2LM

DP g

mg ql

29

Considering that XLM is less than 0.3 for wet gas by definition,

the single phase differential pressure ratio is less than 0.09, which

means that, compared with the gas phase, the liquid phase has

made a much smaller contribution to the two-phase differential

pressure DPtp. As a consequence, the two-phase differential pressure is mainly influenced by the predominant gas phase and is

insensitive to the liquid phase.

Fig. 10. Variation of differential pressure mean value.

Revisiting of the relative errors shown in Table 2 indicates that

the measurement accuracy in the present study is lower than previous work. These methods are all based on over-reading correlations but with different characteristic parameters used for

establishing the auxiliary correlation. Zhang [14] adopts the across

throttle device pressure drop, while Monni [18] adopts the permanent pressure loss. These characteristic parameters are both differential pressure in essence, but with different low pressure ports.

Zhang [14] and Monni [18] used the mean value of the differential

pressure signals. In the present study, the fluctuation of the differential pressure signals is used. It is the characteristics of differential pressure fluctuation that bring down the measurement

accuracy. In this section, the mean value and the fluctuation of

the differential pressure signals are investigated systematically.

Fig. 9 shows that when the pressure is fixed, the differential

pressure mean value increases with both the gas and liquid flow

rates, which means that the differential pressure mean value can

reflect flow rate changes of wet gas. However, as claimed previously, influence of the liquid phase on the differential pressure

mean value is small compared to that of the gas phase.

Data in Fig. 10 are collected from experiments conducted on different dates with the same pressure and gas mass flow rate. As can

be seen, the differential pressure mean values show good consis-

Fig. 9. Relationship between differential pressure mean value and flow rates.

tency, and the relative deviation from the fitted line is less than

0.46%. Conclusions are then drawn that the differential pressure

mean value has good repeatability and can therefore perform as

a robust characteristic parameter of the two-phase flow.

As a common practice, the standard deviation is used to quantify the degree of fluctuation. Fig. 11 shows that the differential

pressure standard deviation increases with the gas and liquid flow

rates for most cases. This tendency indicates that the fluctuation of

differential pressure signals can reflect flow rate changes of wet

gas, and therefore it is considered as a characteristic parameter

of the two-phase flow.

In this paper, three sets of differential pressure signals are collected under each experimental condition, for the purpose of evaluating the repeatability of the differential pressure fluctuation.

Consequently, three differential pressure standard deviations are

calculated for each operating point. As can be seen from Fig. 12

(a), the average value of the three differential pressure standard

deviations (denoted by circular dots), increases with the liquid

mass flow rate, providing that the pressure and the gas mass flow

rate remain unchanged. However, the variation of the differential

pressure standard deviation from the average value is much wider

than that of the differential pressure mean value, with the maximum relative deviation beyond 10%, as shown in Fig. 12(b).

(The error bar in Fig. 12(a) denotes the difference between the

Fig. 11. Relationship between differential pressure standard deviation and flow

rates.

252

is stochastic. The reason for this phenomenon is that gas-liquid

two-phase flow is a stochastic flow in nature [19].

In the present study, the gas mass fraction was calculated using

Eq. (14). Thus, according to uncertainty theory, the relative standard uncertainty of the gas mass fraction (Ux) can be estimated

by that of the differential pressure standard deviation:

Ux

maximum and the minimum values of the three differential pressure standard deviations.) The wide variation range means that the

repeatability of the differential pressure standard deviation is poor.

Herein, the relative standard uncertainty of the differential pressure standard deviation, defined by Eq. (30), is used to quantify

the repeatability:

urDPtp

rDPtp av e

30

where [r(DPtp)]ave is the average value of the three differential pressure standard deviations; u[r(DPtp)] is the standard uncertainty of

differential pressure standard deviation. Due to the small number

of samples, u[r(DPtp)] is estimated by Eq. (31):

urDPtp

dn

35:57B UrDPtp

32

mass fraction ranges from 0.04% to 16.67%, which means that the

poor repeatability of the differential pressure standard deviation

leads to considerable prediction error of the gas mass fraction.

Therefore, due to the poor repeatability, the differential pressure

fluctuation may be suitable for qualitative analysis (e.g. flow

regime identification) rather than quantitative calculation (i.e. flow

rate measurement).

UrDPtp

ux

2

2

@x

u

r

D

P

tp

@rDPtp

31

where [r(DPtp)]max and [r(DPtp)]min are the maximum and minimum values of the three differential pressure standard deviations,

respectively; dn is the coefficient (d3 = 1.693, for n = 3).

The variation of U[r(DPtp)] with the liquid mass flow rate under

different pressure and gas mass flow rate is presented in Fig. 13.

The results illustrate that U[r(DPtp)] varies between 0.3% and

18.5% for all conditions. Besides, U[r(DPtp)] shows no rules as the

5. Conclusions

In this paper, the error analysis of gas and liquid flow rates

metering method based on differential pressure in wet gas is investigated by theoretical analysis and laboratory experiments. The

error propagation analysis demonstrates that metering methods

based on differential pressure will exhibit similar error pattern.

The prediction error of the gas mass flow rate is small, while that

of the liquid mass flow rate is large. In addition, the higher the

gas mass fraction of the wet gas is, the larger the liquid prediction

error will be. This is because the two-phase differential pressure in

wet gas mainly depends on the gas phase and is insensitive to the

liquid phase. Investigation on characteristics of the differential

pressure signals reveals that both the mean value and the fluctuation of the signals can be taken as characteristic parameters.

However, these two statistics parameters show different properties. The mean value of the differential pressure signals can reflect

flow rate changes in wet gas and has good repeatability. In the

experiments, the relative deviation of the differential pressure

mean value is less than 0.46%. Although the fluctuation of the differential pressure signals increases with the gas and liquid flow

rates, the repeatability of the fluctuation is poor. In present cases,

the relative standard uncertainty of the differential pressure fluctuation is from 0.3% to 18.5%, thus leading to the relative standard

Fig. 13. Variation of U[r(DPtp)] under different conditions (a) P = 0.7 MPa and (b) mg = 300 kg/h.

16.67%. Owing to poor repeatability and error propagation, metering method based on the fluctuation of the differential pressure

signals will result in appreciable liquid phase prediction error,

especially for wet gas with high gas mass fraction.

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by National Natural Science

Foundation of China under Grant No. 51276140 and by National

Key Scientific Instrument and Equipment Development Project,

China under Grant No. 51527808.

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