# Flow Measurement Options for Pipeline and Open Channel Flow

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1 Flow Measurement Options for Pipeline and Open Channel Flow October 2013 Presented by Molly Skorpik Montana Association of Dam and Canal Systems Conference

2 Irrigation Training and Research Center California Polytechnic State University and USBR Short courses for irrigation managers and designers

3 Overview Pipeline Flow Measurement Basics Pipeline Flow Measurement Devices Open Channel Flow Measurement Devices

4 Pipeline Flow Measurement Basics Continuity equation: flow rate remains constant between locations flow = velocity x area or Q (cfs) = V (fs) x A (sf)

5 Pipeline Flow Measurement Basics Miner s Inches Flow through an orifice with an area of one square inch under a head of six inches Uncommon measurement except in ag Varies state to state 1 cfs = 40 miner s inch 1 miner s inch = 11 ¼ gallons per minute Example = District measures 5 cfs Then 5 cfs * 40 miner s inches/cfs = 200 miner s inches

6 Pipeline Flow Measurement Devices Open Pipe Discharge Collins Flow Gage Propeller Flow Meter Venturi Meters Electromagnetic Meters Ultrasonic Pipe Meters

7 Propeller Flow Meter Flow measurement based on measuring the velocity of water by turning a propeller in the water. A readout of a flow meter gives both instantaneous flow rate (needle gage) and volume (totalizer). Saddle style Tube style

8 Propeller Flow Meter Installation Sizing Propellers are calibrated to exact inner pipe diameter. Full pipe Pipe must be full. Obstructions in pipe Install on straight sections, consider straightening vanes. Turbulence Avoid elbows, valves, air entrainment. Needle movement Use lowest reading Center the meter Assumptions on pipe ID can introduce error!

9 Propeller Flow Meter Operation Accuracy 2% with proper flow rates. Accuracy very poor at velocities less than 1.0 fps for 12 and smaller. Portable propeller meters Flow will vary when removed Measuring while making adjustments can take hours to stabilize Horizontal vs. vertical placement Daily and annual maintenance Remove debris before it gets to the meter, OR Clean the propeller frequently

10 Propeller Flow Meter Advantages Easy to use for pipe (pressurized) flow. Can have a low relative installation cost. Disadvantages Turbulence in the water makes accurate measurements difficult. Material can easily plug the propeller.

11 Open Pipe Discharge Flow measurement is based on measuring the trajectory (path) of the water as it discharges from a pipe and into the air. Installation Pipe Horizontal Must be level to use standard tables and equations. Straight Section Need six pipe diameters prior to discharge. Y

12 Open Pipe Discharge Example: Measure 12 horizontal and 2 vertical = 2.19 cfs Y

13 Open Pipe Discharge Operation Pipe Flowing Full Excess Turbulence Pipe Flowing Partially Full

14 Open Pipe Discharge Advantages Simple to use, resulting in lower costs. Typically the pipe is in-place, no construction required. Disadvantages Velocity and turbulence in the water make accurate measurements difficult. Wind can affect readings. Messy business (can get wet)

15 Pitot Tube Meters (Collins Flow Gage) Flow measurement is based on obtaining a pitot tube measurement of the velocity head (H=V 2 /2g) in pipeline. The Collins Flow gage consists of two mains parts: a hollow impact tube (inserted in pipe) and a water-air manometer connected to the two ends of the tube by hoses.

16 Pitot Tube Meters (Collins Flow Gage) Installation Tube requires that two holes be drilled and tapped in the pipe. Requires specialized tapping equipment. Holes must be 180 degrees. Once set, multiple use.

17 Pitot Tube Meters (Collins Flow Gage) Operation 2 Point Method 6 Point Method 10 Point Method 20 Point Method

18 Pitot Tube Meters (Collins Flow Gage) Advantages Quick and simple, once taps are installed. Used as standard by some electric utilities. Can be used in short sections of pipe with multiple readings. Disadvantages Time required to set up initial taps and threaded fittings. Material readings must be taken in large pipes.

19 Venturi Meters Flow measurement is used to measure the flow of water in pipes under pressure. It utilizes the Venturi principle: flow passing through a constricted section of pipe is accelerated and the head is lowered. With cross sectional areas of pipe know, the flow can be determined.

20 Proof that it is real. Next slide please!

21 Venturi Meters Installation Usually inserted between two flanges. Short-upstream end must be same diameter as pipeline. Connect holes in meter to piezometer. Operation Measurement of head measurements are made at the entrance section and throat sections and used in equation. Head loss Often, a measurement is taken immediately below constriction to document overall loss through meter. Expect 10 to 20 percent loss. Table Values of C and K Need coefficient tables to calculate flow.

22 Venturi Meters Advantages Does not obstruct the flow. Simple operation. No moving parts. Disadvantages Tubes used to measure pressure can become plugged easily. Can be expensive in large installations.

23 V-Cone Meter V-Cone uses pressure differential, similar to the traditional venturi meter. Same principle as traditional venturi meter

24 Portable Ultrasonic Pipe Meters Ultrasonic pulses are transmitted through a moving liquid. The pulses that travel is the same direction as the fluid flow (downstream) travel faster than the pulses that travel against the flow (upstream). flow

25 Portable Ultrasonic Pipe Meters Installation Avoid installation on the same pipe with another ultrasonic flow meter. Manufacturer likely requires undisturbed pipe up and downstream of device. Weather pipe is running vertical or horizontal, mount transducer on a horizontal plan. Chose location of full pipe flow. Prepare contact surfaces. Operation Ensure proper signal strength. Need accurate measurement of water temperature.

26 Portable Ultrasonic Pipe Meters Advantages Non-mechanical. Portable, small and lightweight unit. If properly installed can be used for flow velocities as low as 0.2 ft sec with reasonable accuracy. Various transducer sizes are available for different pipe sizes. Can be used for various fluids at various temperatures. Accuracy of 2%. Easy to program. For use on horizontal and vertical pipes. Easily checked for signal strength. Disadvantages Limited pipe material types. Yes metal and most plastics. Linings might interfere Care must be taken with all connections and wires. Good working battery should be used. May not work just down stream of a pump. Diagnostic Signal Strengths must be monitored. Correct transducer size and location are critical.

27 Electromagnetic Flow Meters Fluid passes through pipe and a voltage proportional to flow rate is generated. The voltage is measured by electrodes. The reading is converted to give a rate of flow.

28 Electromagnetic Flow Meters Advantages Non-mechanical. Avoid debris clogging Highly accurate up to 0.5% No detectable pressure drop Insensitive to temperature and pressure Various sizes are available for different pipe sizes. Disadvantages Care must be taken with all connections and wires. Good working battery should be used. Cost may be significant in large pipe diameters. Diagnostic Signal Strengths must be monitored. Correct size and location are critical.

29 Reading flow rates There will be slight variability with flow readouts. Take multiple readings. Create form to use for readings. Suggest a reading every 5 seconds over a minute period. Average the readings and convert to desired output (IE gpm or cfs)

30 Acknowledgements Irrigation Training and Research Center - California Polytechnic State University Professor Styles

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