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What is Flow Compensation in

Pressure and Temperature?
Why do you do process temperature and pressure
flow compensation?

In gas flow measurement, the density of the gas changes as pressure and temperature change. This
change in density can affect the accuracy of the measured flow rate if it is uncompensated.
Temperature, pressure compensated flow control is a flow modified mathematically by one or more
additional variables, like :

• Temperature
• Pressure
• Density
• Viscosity

Producing a resultant value for flow compensation that is more accurate. It is compensated for the
error effects of the other variables.

Pressure Temperature Compensation Flow

Measurement Formula

Orifice meters require Pressure Temperature Compensation Formula when we use them to
measure gas flow in pipes with variable operating pressure and temperature. Normally we do not
have an online density measurement. In this case we will consider the density constant to simplify
the calculations. If you want to perform a density compensation in the flow measurement you must
take into account the density variation.

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The variations in pressure and temperature have a significant effect on gas density, this is why
without this pressure and temperature compensation the flow measurement can have large

This post will help you to understand the basics concepts around this formulas (flow compensation
formula) and will aslo let you implement them on your process control system.

1.Obtaining the Real Density Formula

Staring with the ideal gas law, we can extract density from the formula and calculate de density for
two different situations (design and real). We need to apply a density compensation in flow

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Where :

• P =  Pressure
• T = Temperature
• V = Volume
• Mw = Molecular Weight
• n = Number of mols
• R =  Gas Constant
• rho = gas density

After simplify the previous equation we can have different results depending on the different
situations, so we can have a set of design conditions and also a set of real situation conditions….

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Operating with the formulas for real density formula and design density we can obtain the formula
to define the real density taking in account the pressure and temperature compensation.

2.Deriving the Differential Pressure Flow Equation

To obtain the Differential Pressure Flow equation we will use two basic fluid mechanics equations :
Euler’s equation of continuity and Bernoulli’s principle,

Where :

• V = linear velocity of fluid

• rho = gas density
• A = Area


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Where :

• P = pressure
• rho = gas density
• V=linear velocity of fluid
• g = standard gravity
• h = height

…rearranging the previous equation and assuming constant density and h1=h2 we have ….

Now it’s time to express fluid’s velocity in function of pipe diameter (D) and orifice (d) plate
restriction diameter ….

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and after that, we can substitute V1 inside the previous equation, the resulting equation gives us the
velocity at the restriction :

To calculate the volumetric flow we have to multiply both sides by the area of the restriction …

If we concentrate all the constants in just constant called K we have the following expressions
refering to QV and QM :

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How does pressure compensated flow control work?

3. Pressure Temperature Compensation Formula (gas

flow compensation formula)
Now it’s time to substitute the real density by the density calculated in point 1.

After the substitution we will have the following formulas which are used to calculate the
compensated flow for every orifice plate flowmeter (depending if you need volumen or mass flow).

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Remeber that you must use the flow square root extraction formula in your DCS !!!4.

References :
• EMERSON (2015) Theory of dP Flow
• MOORE Products (1994) Pressure and temperature compensation of an orifice meter using
the model 352 single loop controller
• Wikipedia.org
• EMERSON –  Rosemount Differentil Pressure Flow Gas Flow Measurement
• ISA – Maintenance of Instruments & Systems, Second Edition – Lawrence D. Goettsche

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