Vortex Flow Meter Installation Guide

Why are flow meter straight lengths important?
Like most flow devices, a Vortex flow meter requires a well developed and symmetrical flow velocity profile, free from any distortions or swirls if it is to give good accuracy and repeatability. To achieve good accuracy and repeatability it is standard practice to place the meter some distance from sources of turbulence. Common sources of turbulence include pumps, valves, changes in line direction (i.e. bends), changes in line size etc.
 
How are flow meter straight lengths defined?
Most manufacturers provide the user with minimum distances for their particular products. These distances, referred to as straight lengths, are indicated in Pipe Diameters (D). For example, 10 D means place the flow meter ten times the pipe's internal diameter away from the source of turbulence. Because turbulence both upstream and downstream can reduce accuracy, manufacturers provide straight length requirements for both upstream and downstream of the meter.
 
Installing a Vortex Meter
Different manufacturers claim differing requirements, with fewer straight lengths being marketed as an advantage for the end user.
Ideally the flow transmitter should be sited with as many upstream and downstream straight pipe lengths as possible, preferably more than recommended by the manufacturer, but definitely not less.
Obtaining the necessary straight lengths can be difficult, especially in compact plants. Therefore it is worth remembering that Vortex meters can be installed vertically, horizontally, or at any angle, as long as they are kept flooded. So if installing vertically try to have upward flow.
If you are compensating for pressure and temperature then allow 3 to 4 pipe diameters between the meter and downstream pressure taps, and thermowells should be small and located 5 to 6 D downstream of the meter.
As a general rule of thumb straight lengths should be about the same as that required for an orifice installation with a beta ratio of 0.7 - see the table below
 
Vortex Meter Straight Length Requirements
 
vortex flow meter straight length requirements

 

 

 

Further Reading

For those who want to delve further into the world of flow measurement, then the following may be of interest: