What Is an Ultrasonic Flow Meter?

An ultrasonic flow meter is a sophisticated device that allows you to accurately measure the flow of liquid, gas, or steam in a pipe. The team at FLEXIM has years of experience developing ultrasonic flow meters for a wide range of industries and types of applications, from underground gas storage facilities, universities, hydropower plants, and Manhattan skyscrapers.

How Do Ultrasonic Flow Meters Work?

If you’re not familiar with ultrasonic flow meters, an overview is in order.

Main Types of Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Today, the industry offers two main kinds of ultrasonic flow meters: Doppler and transit time.

  • Doppler: With a Doppler ultrasonic flow meter, the system detects how a sound wave changes frequency according to how quickly liquid is flowing, as detected by ultrasonic signals reflecting from gas bubbles or particles suspended in the fluid. Outside of the laboratory environment, individuals typically have experienced the Doppler effect by hearing the pitch of a locomotive’s horn apparently changing its frequency as the train speeds by the listener.
  • Transit time: This kind of volumetric flow meter detects how much time transpires from the moment the meter sends out an ultrasonic sound to the moment a second transducer picks up the signal. By comparing measurements made downstream and upstream, you will detect no flow if the time to travel is identical in each direction. When flow does occur in the pipe, sound travels slower when moving against the flow, and faster when going in the same direction as the flow.

Examples of ultrasonic flow meters include:

  • Hybrid ultrasonic flow meters: A hybrid approach combines Doppler effect and transit time measurements in one package.
  • Compressed air flow meters: Use compressed air flow meters for keeping track of the transit of compressed air through pipes or measuring technical gases. They’re ideal for conditions when your team seeks to avoid measurement issues that may arise from the presence of dirt particles, oil, or moisture that happen to be in the pipe.
  • High-temperature steam measurement: You do not need to interrupt operations when it’s time to measure the flow of high-temperature steam in your facilities. Gas flow meters simply clamp onto the exterior of a pipe to complete the installation process.
  • Hazardous area permanent gas flow meters: When conditions warrant measuring gas flow in dangerous locations, it’s a good idea to use a meter with explosion-proof housing and transducers that withstand corrosion. That’s where hazardous area permanent gas flow meters can be of service, such as in chemical plants or at oil refineries.

For Help Selecting a Flow Meter, Contact FLEXIM Today

Ultrasonic flow meters are crucial instruments for maintaining operations in facilities across industries, including oil and gas, energy, chemical, and power and water.

When you have more insight into the nature of flow meters and how they work, you’ll be in a better position to select them for use in your applications.

Whether you need an ultrasonic Doppler system or a transit-time ultrasonic flow meter, or a hybrid system that combines the best of both types, we’re here to answer any questions you might have.

We’re the leader in clamp-on ultrasonic flow measurement systems, with applications for steam, gases, and liquids. Anything that flows, you can measure, thanks to FLEXIM technology. FLEXIM is known for our innovative, noninvasive ultrasonic technology for gas flow measurement.

The experts at FLEXIM are standing by to help you select the correct flow meter. To learn more about how to choose a flow meter, please get in touch with us today.