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Ultrasonic Flowmeters for Gas | Velocity Type Flow Meter Part II

Continuing our series on gas flow meters, in part two of velocity flow meters we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasonic flowmeters. As a refresher, three velocity type meters measure natural gas; they are turbine meters, ultrasonic meters, and vortex meters.

In the market for a ultrasonic gas flow meter?

Ultrasonic Gas Flow Meters

Q.sonic meter Ultrasonic Flowmeters for Gas The Elster-Instromet Q.Sonic-plus ultrasonic meter works well for custody transfer of natural gas, as well as gas exploration, transmission, and distribution.Ultrasonic flow meters are one of the new gas technologies and approved for custody transfer. Inline ultrasonic meters are highly accurate (0.05-0.2%) and compete with differential pressure (DP) and turbine flow meters. When used as a custody transfer meter, the ultrasonic must have at least three paths.

Clamp-on ultrasonic models are not approved in the U.S. for custody transfer at this time. They are nonintrusive as the transmitters clamp to the outside of the pipe. They are less accurate (about 1%) than the inline meter and used for monitoring, check metering, temporary flow measurement, and leak detection.


Ultrasonic flow meters are approved for custody transfer and perform well in large pipe sizes. Most Coriolis meters serve two inches or smaller pipe sizes, becoming expensive and unmanageable in larger line sizes. In most cases, ultrasonic meters are the better choice for 6" pipes and larger over Coriolis.

Ultrasonic flow meters can measure the flow of nonconductive liquids, gases, and steam, something magnetic meters are limited in, and given that oil and gas production, transportation, and refining industries fluids are nonconductive, the ultrasonic flowmeter excels in that market.

As a rule, the ultrasonic meters are highly accurate, repeatable and tolerate extreme temperatures. They offer high rangeability and can measure in low- and high-flow conditions. They provide long-term reliability, and because they have no moving parts, they require little maintenance. They are self-diagnosing, and once calibrated they can determine measurement shifts. The clamp-on models also offer flexibility and easy installation without penetrating the pipe.


Of course, ultrasonic meters have high initial costs. While dirty gas will degrade accuracy, Ultrasonic flowmeters handle impurities better than turbine meters. Additionally, sound, even noise outside of human perception, can interfere with the sonic pulses.

Manufacturers of Ultrasonic Flowmeters

Some manufacturers of ultrasonic flow meters include:

If you are in the market for an ultrasonic flow meter, submit your inquiry here.

Need assistance with a gas flow meter?

This article is a continuing series on types of gas flow meters. You may have interest in related posts:

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About The Author

Preston Marcoux joined Linc Energy Systems in 2017 as a Mechanical Engineer after graduating from CU Boulder with a BSME. In 2014-2016, Preston periodically worked as an intern at the company. He currently focuses on the odorant injection line and supports technical applications.


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Guest Tuesday, 15 October 2019
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