Flow Measurement in the Cold

Measuring flow can be a very delicate process depending on the needs of your operation. For instance, measuring flow in cold weather locations is an extremely difficult task. When outdoor temperatures are near or below freezing, it makes it nearly impossible to measure flow as you would in normal circumstances, meaning you must find alternative solutions so that your operation continues to have the level of success you need.

If you need to measure flow in the cold, it’s a good idea to learn about some of the obstacles you may encounter and how to successfully accomplish this task. Here are a few tips for cold weather flow measurement, and advice for getting the right tools for your flow measurement job.

Frost Heave

There are several different obstacles you must overcome in order to measure flow in the extreme cold. However, the most common hurdle is a phenomenon called frost heave. Frost heave occurs when soil expands due to freezing ground water. Your risk of experiencing frost heave can increase depending on the type of soil and the amount of ground water.

Fine soils, for instance, are extremely vulnerable to frost heave, while clay prevents frost heave because it limits the passage of water. Frost heave can make the ground extremely uneven, which can make it difficult to successfully install your flow measurement device like a flume or a weir.

Preventing Frost Heave

If you want to be able to perform cold weather flow measurement, you need to prevent frost heave in whatever way possible. Fortunately, this isn’t as difficult as you might believe, particularly if you have the right strategy.

The most common solution for combatting frost heave is installing insulation. This prevents heat from leeching from the ground and stops frost from penetrating into the ground too deeply. Another way of fighting frost heave is installing your footings at deeper depths. While this solution is effective, it requires that you excavate a much larger area, increasing the amount of time needed for your installation.

Flow Devices

Once you’ve chosen the right solution for preventing frost heave, you need to choose the right device for managing and measuring your cold weather flow. Typically, in cold weather situations, you would either use a flume or a weir.

If you select a weir, you should be aware that your weir needs to be completely vertical. When a weir isn’t installed completely flat, it can decrease the accuracy of your readings. Also, you will need to build an upstream weir pool, which may be difficult to maintain. Installing a flume is usually the better choice, as there is no need for a weir pool and there are built in corrections when your flume cannot be installed completely level.

Help with Cold Weather Flow Measurement

As you can see, there are a variety of complications when measuring flow in extremely cold weather. Like most flow measurement asks, the best way to accomplish cold weather flow measurement is by having the right tools, and you can get high-quality flow measurement tools by shopping with Tracom, FRP.

Tracom offers our clients a great inventory of fiberglass flumes and weirs that are suitable for a wide variety of flow applications. Contact Tracom today and we’ll help you find the right tools for  cold weather flow measurement.