Are you searching for a flow meter solution that provides accurate, repeatable, and reliable results? Do you need a device that measures low flow levels of liquid or gas samples? Or, is it time to replace that old rotameter and look for a better product?

If you have been researching the various flow meter technologies available, then you should also strongly consider a microturbine flow meter to meet your needs.

Microturbine flow meters, also described as axial or Pelton wheel flow meters, are devices used to measure low flow levels of clean gas or liquid flow rates, and are ideal for measuring consistent flow rates (if your searching for a product that can measure flow rates that vary, consider a thermal mass flow meter.)

Continue reading to learn how microturbine flow meters operate, common applications and the top considerations when selecting a flow meter for your organization.

How do Microturbine Flow Meters Operate?

Microturbine flow meters provide volumetric measurements using a miniature microturbine wheel (similar in size to a U.S. dime) that spins around as a result of the liquid/gas flow passing through the meter. As flow passes through the meter, it is directed onto the very small teeth of the wheel using a precision-machined nozzle. This nozzle is sized according to the flow range of the unit. The rotational speed of the microturbine wheel increases proportionally to the volumetric flow rate.

The turbine wheel has alternating white and black sections evenly spaced on one surface of the wheel. As the wheel rotates, an infrared beam is reflected off each white section and is directed to a phototransistor which detects each reflected beam and converts them into pulses.

As the wheel spins faster, the pulse rate also increases. No pulses generate when the wheel is idle.

Consequently, zero drift is not possible and zero adjustments are never required. Processing circuitry provides analog and/or pulse outputs that are linearly proportional to the flow rate.

Examples of Microturbine Flow Meter Applications

While microturbine flow meters are primarily used to monitor and measure liquid or gas flow rates, they can also be utilized for a variety of applications, including but not limited to:

  • Precision flow measurement of samples in laboratories
  • Fuel cell liquid monitoring
  • Totalizing chemical injection streams

Microturbine flow meters can also be used in various industries such as oil & gas, water treatment, automotive, pharmaceutical, semiconductors, chemical, metals and mining, and more.

What to Consider When Using a Microturbine Flow Meter

As with any flow measurement and control product, there are several key considerations when using a microturbine meter such as impurities flowing through the meter, environmental conditions and using hazardous and aggressive samples.

Debris and impurities in flow

Because microturbine flow meters are typically intended to measure precise, low flow rates, debris may cause operational issues in your instrument. If impurities get stuck in the flow meter, it can affect sensor. Custom-sized filters are recommended for monitoring flows that have impurities in them.

Dry, protected environments

Environmental conditions such as extreme heat and moisture could affect the operations of your flow meter. It is also important to keep the temperature in mind, such as in the case of natural gas services where operating at higher temperatures can damage the device.

Hazardous and aggressive samples

Aggressive and corrosive samples, such as sulfuric acid, could also affect your flow meters. In these cases, consider flow meters with materials that are chemically resistant such as Ryton, Brass, Stainless Steel and Teflon.

For a list of other helpful considerations, read the following article from Flow Tech on Applying Turbine Flow Meters for Clean Liquids and Gases.

If you’re in need of liquid gas flow measurement solutions, McMillan Flow Products offers high-quality microturbine flow meters at an affordable price! Contact us and request a quote today!