Strengths and Weaknesses of Bubbler Flow Meters

Whether you use a flume or a weir in your open channel flow operation, it’s crucial for you to choose the right tool to take flow measurements. While there are several flow measurement devices for you to choose from, a bubbler flow meter is one of the best.

When used correctly, a bubbler flow meter takes extremely accurate readings and can be used with both flumes and weirs. This means you can install this tool regardless of your primary device. That being said, there are some drawbacks to these flow meters, making them unsuitable for some operations. Here are a few strengths and weaknesses of bubbler flow meters you should consider before installing this flow measuring tool in your operation.

How Bubblers Work and their Benefits

One of the most interesting facts about bubbler flow meters is how they measure the flow in your system. These meters are equipped with a bubbler tube that is partially submerged in your flow. Using an air compressor, the flow meter forces air through the tube, and the amount of pressure needed to push the air completely through it and into the flow, calculating the flow depth.

Because the bubbler tube is submerged in the flow, bubbler flow meters are not as vulnerable to environmental factors as other flower measuring tools. For example, unlike an ultrasonic flow meter, the measurements you take with your bubbler flow meter will not be impacted by surface flow turbulence, such as foam.

Disadvantages of Bubbler Flow Meters

When examining the strengths and weaknesses of bubbler flow meters, it’s imperative you consider the type of flow in your system. While it’s true these flow meters aren’t vulnerable to surface turbulence, there are some flow characteristics that impact their accuracy.

First and foremost, bubbler flow meters are a poor choice when the flow contains solid materials, such as wastewater flow. The inlet at the end of the bubbler tube is very small, and can easily be clogged if you are using your flow meter to measure sanitary flow. In addition to impacting the accuracy of your readings, this creates more work for your operators, as they will frequently need to check the bubbler tube inlet to make sure it is not blocked.

Similarly, bubbler flow meters are not the best choice in systems where biological growth is possible. As with solid matter, biological growth will eventually block the bubbler tube, preventing air from being forced through the tube and causing inaccurate readings.

In applications where it’s possible your bubbler tube will become clogged, you should instead choose an ultrasonic flow meter or use a staff gauge. Both of these tools can be used regardless of whether there is solid material in your flow.

Shop for Flow Management Devices

After learning about the strengths and weaknesses of bubbler flow meters, you should be equipped to decide whether this tool will fit in your system. Before you can install a flow meter, however, you need a primary device such as a flume or weir, which you can find with Tracom, FRP.

We offer an array of flow management devices, including weirs and flumes, all of which are constructed using durable fiberglass. Get in touch with Tracom today, and we’ll help you find the flow management devices you want and need.