An Overview of the Ultrasonic Flow Meter

A flume or weir is the most common method for monitoring and measuring water flow and for good reason, but you need to choose the method to use within these devices to measure the flow. While there are many available, the most popular and common is an ultrasonic flow meter. These high-tech measuring devices provide accurate readings without complex calculations and gear like staff gauges. Check out an overview of the ultrasonic flow meter, its benefits and drawbacks, and what it can do for your operations.

An Overview of the Ultrasonic Flow Meter

The ultrasonic flow meter emits high-pitched soundwaves into the water that travels through the flume or weir, then records the time for that sound to bounce back to the emitter. It’s primarily a form of sonar, not unlike that used by bats or submarines. The distance between the flow surface and the meter translates to a transit time. When you install the meter, you set a predetermined distance as a baseline. As water flows through the system, measurements are compared to the baseline and applied to discharge equations. This gives you a flow rate measurement. You don’t have to do anything after the initial setup; all the calculations are done internally and the meter simply gives you a final output for your flow rate.

Benefits of using an Ultrasonic Meter

The biggest benefit of an ultrasonic flow meter is that it does all the work for you. You don’t have to do any calculations at all. Just set it up and take readings. In addition, the meter never comes into direct contact with the water, so it doesn’t matter what type of water you’re dealing with, whether it’s filled with debris or sediment, whether it’s dirty or clean. Lack of contact with the water also means that the meter never suffers wear and tear from the running fluid. There’s no risk of corrosion or damage from debris. It requires little maintenance or upkeep so long as it’s properly installed.

Drawbacks of Ultrasonic Meters

Ultrasonic meters may still encounter problems with other environmental factors like solar energy and strong winds. It can get damaged if the flow is particularly turbulent. Obstructions in the flume or weir can also cause inaccurate readings. This can be a particular problem with issues like chemical or biological foam, which can obstruct the soundwaves and give false readings. You can offset these issues in many ways. You can control foam with defoamer and anti-foam agents. You can add sunshades to your sensor that will defend against strong winds and solar energy to a point. You can angle the sensor face to reduce condensate from steam buildup. You can even use specialized control schemes to adjust your echo strength if need be.

Ultrasonic Flow Mounting Systems at Tracom

If you want to implement an ultrasonic flow meter, the right mounting bracket is essential and Tracom is here to help you find just the right one. Our experts are experienced with many types of flume and weir setups and our high-end mounting brackets can ensure reliable performance and accurate readings for years. Check out our wastewater products and flume accessories.