Ultrasonic Flow Meter

There are numerous options for measuring flow using a flume or weir, but one of the most popular methods is implementing an ultrasonic flow meter. This high-tech solution can provide accurate readings without all the requirements of a staff gauge. Of course, these meters have their own set of requirements to consider. Learn everything you need to know about an ultrasonic flow meter.

How Does It Work?

An ultrasonic flow meter works primarily using sound waves. In short, it emits a sound wave into the flow traveling through the weir or flume, and it records the time it takes for the echo of that sound to return to the emitter. The distance between the emitter and the flow surface corresponds directly to that transit time. 

A predetermined distance is set up during installation, which measurements are compared against to measure flow rate. The measurement is then applied to the discharge equations to produce a measurement for the flow rate. This can all happen automatically within the ultrasonic flow meter, so all you have to do is read the final output.

Benefits of an Ultrasonic Flow Meter

There are quite a few benefits that work alongside this handy measuring device. The primary benefit is that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the water. Without direct contact, it doesn’t matter what kind of water you’re dealing with in your flow. No debris or sediment that the water may be carrying will have any impact on the meter’s effectiveness. 

Since the meter isn’t subject to the solids that sometimes travel in certain flows, it doesn’t run the risk of corrosion or damage from them. In otherwise safe environments, the meter would require little to no maintenance at all, which can save more in the long run, considering labor and replacement costs.

Potential Problems

While the meter is protected from the water, there are still problems you may encounter throughout its operation. Since the meter is located above the weir or flume, it’s exposed to other outside elements, such as strong winds and solar heating. It can also be damaged by steam and turbulent flows that splash upwards towards it. Performance-wise, it can also read false echoes from any obstruction in the flume or weir, though those obstructions tend to throw off readings regardless.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to combat these potential problems and get the most out of your ultrasonic flow meter. Sensor sunshades can protect against solar heating and strong winds, to a certain extent. Steam can also be countered by angling the sensor face to reduce the buildup of condensate. You’ll also find control schemes that allow you to adjust echo strength if you find it not strong enough to reach the surface and back.

Find an Ultrasonic Flow Meter With Tracom

If you’re looking to implement an ultrasonic flow meter, Tracom is always happy to help. Our experts have experience working with a wide variety of weir and flume setups, and we offer high-end ultrasonic mounting brackets to help ensure peak performance and accurate readings. Contact us today to learn more!