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TABLE 1.
FLOWMETER SELECTION GUIDE
Flowmeter
element
Recommended
Service
Rangeability Pressure Loss Typical
Accuracy,
percent
Required
Upstream
pipe,
diameters
Viscosity
effect
Relative
Cost
Orifice Clean, dirty
liquids; some
slurries
4 to 1 Medium ±2 to ±4
of full
scale
10 to 30 High Low
Wedge Slurries and
Viscous liquids
3 to 1 Low to
medium
±0.5 to ±2
of full scale
10 to 30 Low High
Venturi tube Clean, dirty
and viscous
liquids; some
slurries
4 to 1 Low ±1 of full
scale
5 to 20 High Medium
Flow nozzle Clean and
dirty liquids
4 to 1 Medium ±1 to ±2
of full scale
10 to 30 High Medium
Pitot tube Clean liquids 3 to 1 Very low ±3 to ±5
of full scale
20 to 30 Low Low
Elbow meter Clean, dirty
liquids; some
slurries
3 to 1 Very low ±5 to ±10
of full scale
30 Low Low
Target meter Clean, dirty
viscous
liquids; some
slurries
10 to 1 Medium ±1 to ±5
of full scale
10 to 30 Medium Medium
Variable area Clean, dirty
viscous liquids
10 to 1 Medium ±1 to ±10
of full scale
None Medium Low
Positive
Displacement
Clean, viscous
liquids
10 to 1 High ±0.5 of
rate
None High Medium
Turbine Clean, viscous
liquids
20 to 1 High ±0.25 of
rate
5 to 10 High High
Vortex CLean, dirty
liquids
10 to 1 Medium ±1 of rate 10 to 20 Medium High
Electromagnetic Clean, dirty
viscous con-
ductive liquids
and slurries
40 to 1 None ±0.5 of
rate
5 None High
Ultrasonic
(Doppler)
Dirty, viscous
liquids and
slurries
10 to 1 None ±5 of full
scale
5 to 30 None High
Ultrasonic
(Time-of-travel)
Clean, viscous
liquids
20 to 1 None ±1 to ±5
of full scale
5 to 30 None High
Mass
(Coriolis)
Clean, dirty
viscous
liquids; some
slurries
10 to 1 Low ±0.4 of
rate
None None High
Mass
(Thermal)
Clean, dirty
viscous
liquids; some
slurries
10 to 1 Low ±1 of full
scale
None None High
Weir
(V-notch)
Clean, dirty
liquids
100 to 1 Very low ±2 to ±5
of full scale
None Very Low Medium
Flume
(Parshall)
Clean, dirty
liquids
50 to 1 Very low ±2 to ±5
of full scale
None Very low Medium

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