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Since flowmeters are integrated instruments that measure different flow quantities by different technologies, it is difficult to categorize them by one parameter. Typically flowmeters are referenced by:

Flowmeter By Technology Employed


  Technology Instrument Measure Result
1.  Coriolis    Miscellaneous Acceleration Mass
2.  Differential Pressure   Elbow  Pressure Pressure Volume
3.    Flow Nozzle  Pressure Pressure Volume
4.    Orifice  Pressure Pressure Volume
5.    Pitot Tube  Pressure Pressure Volume
6.    Pitot Tube (Averaging)  Pressure Pressure Volume
7.    Venturi  Pressure Pressure Volume
8.    Wedge  Pressure Pressure Volume
9.  Magnetic    Electronic Electromagnetic Field Velocity
10.  Positive Displacement   Nutating Disc  Mechanical Volume Volume
11.    Oscillating Piston  Mechanical Volume Volume
12.    Oval Gear  Mechanical Volume Volume
13.    Roots  Mechanical Volume Volume
14.  Target    Mechanical Force Velocity
15.  Thermal    Miscellaneous Heat Transfer Velocity
16.  Turbine    Mechanical Volume Volume
17.  Ultrasonic   Doppler  Electronic Acoustic Waves Velocity
18.    Transit Time  Electronic Acoustic Waves Velocity
19.  Variable Area   Movable Vane  Pressure Pressure Volume
20.    Rotameter  Pressure Pressure Volume
21.    Weir, Flume  Pressure Pressure Volume
22.  Vortex    Mechanical Frequency Velocity
Flowmeter By Instrumentation Employed

Flowmeters may be categorized by the instrumentation architecture.


  Instrument Technology Measure Result
1. Electronic  Magnetic    Electromagnetic Field Velocity
2.    Ultrasonic   Doppler  Acoustic Waves Velocity
3.      Transit Time  Acoustic Waves Velocity
4. Mechanical  Positive Displacement   Nutating Disc  Volume Volume
5.      Oscillating Piston  Volume Volume
6.      Oval Gear  Volume Volume
7.      Roots  Volume Volume
8.    Target    Force Velocity
9.    Turbine    Volume Volume
10.    Vortex    Frequency Velocity
11. Miscellaneous  Coriolis    Acceleration Mass
12.    Thermal    Heat Transfer Velocity
13. Pressure  Differential Pressure   Elbow  Pressure Volume
14.      Flow Nozzle  Pressure Volume
15.      Orifice  Pressure Volume
16.      Pitot Tube  Pressure Volume
17.      Pitot Tube (Averaging)  Pressure Volume
18.      Venturi  Pressure Volume
19.      Wedge  Pressure Volume
20.    Variable Area   Movable Vane  Pressure Volume
21.      Rotameter  Pressure Volume
22.      Weir, Flume  Pressure Volume
Flowmeter By Physical Quantity Measured

Another way to categorized flowmeters is to base on the physical quantity that the flowmeter measures.


  Measure Result Technology Instrument
1. Acceleration Mass  Coriolis    Miscellaneous
2. Acoustic Waves Velocity  Ultrasonic   Doppler  Electronic
3.   Velocity    Transit Time  Electronic
4. Electromagnetic Field Velocity  Magnetic    Electronic
5. Force Velocity  Target    Mechanical
6. Frequency Velocity  Vortex    Mechanical
7. Heat Transfer Velocity  Thermal    Miscellaneous
8. Pressure Volume  Differential Pressure   Elbow  Pressure
9.   Volume    Flow Nozzle  Pressure
10.   Volume    Orifice  Pressure
11.   Volume    Pitot Tube  Pressure
12.   Volume    Pitot Tube (Averaging)  Pressure
13.   Volume    Venturi  Pressure
14.   Volume    Wedge  Pressure
15.   Volume  Variable Area   Movable Vane  Pressure
16.   Volume    Rotameter  Pressure
17.   Volume    Weir, Flume  Pressure
18. Volume Volume  Positive Displacement   Nutating Disc  Mechanical
19.   Volume    Oscillating Piston  Mechanical
20.   Volume    Oval Gear  Mechanical
21.   Volume    Roots  Mechanical
22.   Volume  Turbine    Mechanical
Flowmeter By Flow Quantity Displayed
Regardless of the actual physical quantity measured, the goal of a typical flowmeter is to give information about one of the following values:
  • Volume flow rate (Volume)
  • Mass flow rate (Mass)
  • Flow velocity (Velocity)
Flowmeters can therefore be categorized accordingly (Volume, Mass, or Velocity).


  Result Technology Measure Instrument
1. Mass  Coriolis    Acceleration Miscellaneous
2. Velocity  Magnetic    Electromagnetic Field Electronic
3.    Target    Force Mechanical
4.    Thermal    Heat Transfer Miscellaneous
5.    Ultrasonic   Doppler  Acoustic Waves Electronic
6.      Transit Time  Acoustic Waves Electronic
7.    Vortex    Frequency Mechanical
8. Volume  Differential Pressure   Elbow  Pressure Pressure
9.      Flow Nozzle  Pressure Pressure
10.      Orifice  Pressure Pressure
11.      Pitot Tube  Pressure Pressure
12.      Pitot Tube (Averaging)  Pressure Pressure
13.      Venturi  Pressure Pressure
14.      Wedge  Pressure Pressure
15.    Positive Displacement   Nutating Disc  Volume Mechanical
16.      Oscillating Piston  Volume Mechanical
17.      Oval Gear  Volume Mechanical
18.      Roots  Volume Mechanical
19.    Turbine    Volume Mechanical
20.    Variable Area   Movable Vane  Pressure Pressure
21.      Rotameter  Pressure Pressure
22.      Weir, Flume  Pressure Pressure