# Application of the Orifice Meter for Accurate Gas Flow Measurement page 1. Application of the Orifice Meter for Accurate Gas Flow Measurement.

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2 DANIEL MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL WHITE PAPER page 2 value based on average conditions will be minimized. One of the major sources of error in the application of an orifice is the problem of taking the square root of the differential measurement and the effects of small errors in the differential at low differentials. As an example, an error of.5 inches (1.27 cm) on a 100 inch (254 cm) manometer represents a.23% error or flow, at 75 inches (190 cm) a.33% of flow error but at 10 inches (25.4 cm) a 2.5% flow error. Good practice then dictates that the differential be kept as high as possible within the limitations of the strength of the orifice, the range of the flow fluctuation, the range of the differential device and the limitations on the expansion factors. The differential error combined with the error in the static pressure measurement at low pressures makes the orifice less accurate and have less range since we restrict the differential range by the.2 Mach number requirement. Errors in the temperature have a small effect on flow accuracies for most natural gas since the absolute ambient temperature range of measurement causes approximately.2% error in flow rate per degree centigrade error. Specific gravities make about.1% error in flow for each.001 error in reading and this can introduce fairly good size errors on gases with changing compositions unless this measurement is integrated into the volume calculation rather than averaged over a time period. If a specific weight device (commercially referred to as densitometer) is used, the calculation of flow rate is simplified, and the number of sources of errors reduced. These have only recently begun to be used to any extent, however, assuming an accurate device, the mathematical calculation of volume can be improved and the accuracy tolerance reduced. The usual four variables: Temperature, Pressure, Specific Gravity, and Compressibility are reduced to one, density if mass is being measured, or two density and specific gravity if volume is the unit of measurement desired. In each of the cases sighted on errors of the measured variables there are two sources which cause errors: one, the measurement of the variable, and secondly, the conversion of the measurement to a mass or volume by use of the flow formula. Primary Elements While the orifice plate is the most inexpensive item in the entire measurement station it is the most important part, as its physical condition can be largely responsible for the overall accuracy of the measurement. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to manufacture the orifice plate in accordance with the tolerances recommended by the American Gas Association Gas Measurement Committee Report Number Three and the International Organization for Standardization Recommendation 541. It is of equal importance that the orifice plate be handled with care and a regular inspection routine should be instigated to insure the maximum quality of the condition of the plate at all times. The compressibility factor of natural gas (which corrects for the ratio of actual volume to ideal volume) is roughly a.5% correction in volume per 100 psi of pressure at usual measuring conditions. Hence, an error of several per cent in factor is only a small error in volume. However, if the gas is reduced near its critical point correction factors as much as 225% are required and small errors in measured variables are reflected as large errors in volume. Likewise, gases with large concentrations of non-hydrocarbon gases in their mixtures are difficult to calculate accurately, since little data is available on these mixtures. Some of theoretical values obtained by the pseudo - critical method based on the mixture composition have shown errors of several percent when compared with empirically determined test data on the same gas. This problem becomes more pronounced as the percentage of methane is reduced. If the value of the product handled is sufficient, then compressibility tests are recommended for confirmation of the theoretical data to the tolerances required. Inspection should be set up on a regular routine so that the orifice plate can be examined for any changes from its initial condition. If the inspector finds any conditions to exist that were not present originally that can not be corrected by cleaning, the orifice plate should be removed from the line and replaced with a new orifice plate, as this particular item is inexpensive and readily availablefrom most any manufacturer s stock. The importance of a regular routine inspection of this portion of the primary element cannot be stressed enough. The orifice plate must be properly centered and housed, and this is done with the orifice fitting or flange. There are but a few basic types of orifice fittings, and the primary function of each of these is to hold the orifice plate concentrically in the line so that the differential pressure can be measured properly and also to facilitate removing the orifice plate for periodic changing or inspection.

4 DANIEL MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL WHITE PAPER page 4 Conclusions Any discussion of accurate flow measurement should contain a portion on what kind of results can be obtained if all precautions are taken. Without full qualification of the source of the data these numbers are meaningless. However, for some general ranges of experienced balances of measured flow inputs versus flow outputs, the large diameter high pressure pipe lines run a few tenths of a percent lost or unaccounted for. In production fields, where some of the described problems are more prevalent, the balance may be several percent at best. However, experience tells us that the only way these balances are obtained is by following all of the best practices of design, application, installation, maintenance and interpretation. E.L. Upp

5 Emerson Process Management Daniel Measurement and Control, Inc. North America / Latin America: Headquarters USA - Houston, Texas T F USA Toll Free FLOW.001 Europe: Stirling, Scotland, UK T F Middle East, Africa: Dubai, UAE T F Asia Pacific: Singapore T F / 0743 Daniel Measurement and Control, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co., and a division of Emerson Process Management. The Daniel name and logo are registered trademarks of Daniel Industries, Inc. The Emerson logo is a registered trademark and service mark of Emerson Electric Co. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. The contents of this publication are presented for informational purposes only, and while every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy, they are not to be construed as warranties or guarantees, expressed or implied, regarding the products or services described herein or their use or applicability. All sales are governed by Daniel s terms and conditions, which are available upon request. We reserve the right to modify or improve the designs or specifications of such products at any time. Daniel does not assume responsibility for the selection, use or maintenance of any product. Responsibility for proper selection, use and maintenance of any Daniel product remains solely with the purchaser and end-user Daniel Measurement and Control, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part is prohibited. Printed in the USA. DAN-TECHNOLOGIES-APPLICATION-OF-THE-ORIFICE-METER-FOR-ACCURATE-GAS-FLOW-MEASUREMENT

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