Positive displacement flowmeters, also know as PD meters, measure volumes of fluid flowing through by counting repeatedly the filling and discharging of known fixed volumes. A typical positive displacement flowmeter comprises a chamber that obstructs the flow. Inside the chamber, a rotating/reciprocating mechanical unit is placed to create fixed-volume discrete parcels from the passing fluid. Hence, the volume of the fluid that passes the chamber can be obtained by counting the number of passing parcels or equivalently the number rounds of the rotating/reciprocating mechanical device. The volume flow rate can be calculated from the revolution rate of the mechanical device.
Many types of positive displacement flowmeters are used in the industry. They are named after the mechanical device inside the chamber. They all share the same principle of operation and are volumetric flow measuring instruments. Common positive displacement flowmeters are:
- Nutating Disc:
- Rotating Valve:
- Oscillating Piston:
- Oval Gear:
- Roots (Rotating Lobe):
- Rotating Impeller:
The accuracy of positive displacement flowmeters relies on the integrity of the capillary seal that separates incoming fluid into discrete parcels. To achieve the designed accuracy and ensure that the positiive displacement flowmeter functions properly, a filtration system is required to remove particles larger the 100 µm as well as gas (bubbles) from the liquid flow.
Positive displacement flowmeters, although simple in principle of operation and widely used in the industry, all cause a considerable pressure drop which has to be considered for any potential application.